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Newsletter Issue 77


Issue 77                                                      MIDDLE                                        April - May 2001

                                                We need to explore that thought.            experience differs in that these
    As I write this newsletter, I am                                                        parents haven't had to go through a
                                                Parents, whose children have a ter-
thinking about Mother's Day and Fa-          minal illness, must cope with those long       long-term illness and death and all
ther's Day and know that tears will be       months of having hopes and then having         the pain and stress that that involves.
shed. But this year, I hope to "celebrate"   them dashed, maybe, many times.                Another trade-off
May 13th, which is Mother's Day, and            They have to watch their child go               Is it harder, you wonder, to lose a
                                             downhill on a daily basis for a long time      small child or one who is so totally
one week later to "celebrate" not the                                                       dependent upon you and who may be
                                             (and any length of time seems a long
10th anniversary of Young Jim's death,       time when your child is dying).                so young that his or her being is still
but to celebrate his life and the 18 years      Even though they may be exhausted,          a wonder to you, or is it harder to
that we had with him here on earth. I        they still somehow must try to keep the        lose one maybe more independent,
find it unbelievable that Young Jim has      remaining family on an even keel The           but who has been a part of your life
                                             stress of a long-term illness takes its        for so long you can't remember when
been gone from us almost 10 years.                                                          he or she wasn't there? Is there really
                                             toll. By necessity, the day's schedule
When I reflect on the 10 years that have                                                    a choice? If the child was young, all
                                             must be built around the needs of a dy-
passed, I realize that I am a new, and I     ing child, and what does one do with all       or part of the dreams and hoped-for
hope, better person in many ways.            that time when the need is no longer           experiences of watching a child grow
                                             there? They are cast adrift with no an-        and mature are gone. You wonder
    The saddest way that I have changed      chor and have the hard task ahead of           what kind of person would have
is that I am now a childless mother. But     them of restructuring their time and life.     developed in this child You grieve for
                                             Difficult times, and yet, those months         what was and for what might have
I have changed for the better in that I
                                             (even if they never gave up hope) gave         been. If the child was older, maybe
feel I have become more empathetic                                                          even an adult, you had been through
with those who are suffering. I have         them the opportunity to fulfill as many
                                                                                            more of the growing up process and
                                             dreams as was possible; gave them time
become more aware that I am here on                                                         already knew more about what your
                                             to make sure the relationship was a
this earth, not for what people can do                                                      older child's potential was. In this
                                             good one; gave people time to say good-        case, you grieve for what was and for
for me, but for what I can do for others.    bye and "I love you. " You see how the         all that had and could have been.
Losing Young Jim is the worst, but           equalizers work?                                    If we all wrote down on a piece of
finding myself and having a mission in          There's your trade-off                      paper       the    way,     age     and
                                                On the other hand, parents, whose           circumstances of our loss and pinned
life is one of the positives. And I must
                                             children die suddenly, whether by an           each one to a line, like clothes to dry,
include getting to know you and your         acute sudden illness, accident, murder         I suspect we would, after reading
children. What treasures we have in          or suicide, have no advance warning;           them all, gather up our own
heaven!!                                     no time to prepare. There is the sudden        circumstance and take it back It is not
                                             and unexpected amputation of a piece of        important whether or not I have had
   On Mother's and Father's Day, I           their life without the benefit of              your exact experience in the way and
hope you will be able to list some of the    anesthesia.                                    age your child died; it is, however,
"positives" in your life. Share them with       The shock of that puts cotton where         important that I take the time to
me and others.                               the brain used to be. With no warning,         comprehend what you have been
                                             the parents have to live forevermore           through so that I can better support
                                             with whatever their relationship with          and understand your pain. In the year
   The following is a wonderful article      their child was at that time. Good or          ahead, let's spend more time under-
from Bereavement Magazine:                   bad, it is frozen at that place, with no       standing and less time comparing,
         Trade-offs                          opportunity to indulge in a longed, for        for, you see, even with trade-offs,
                                             anything.                                      there is no good age or way for a
    Have you ever thought about the fact        They, too, have the void when the           child to die. There are just different
that each type of loss, as compared          child is no longer there to be parented,       ways and ages; all of them hard.
against another, carries with it equaliz-       Their child may have died alone or
ing factors? It would have been easier,      with strangers. It is difficult to deal with      Mary Cleckley
                                             not having been there and fertile ground
you may think, if he or she died some        for the "what ifs" and "if onlys.” There          Bereaved Parents USA
other way at some other age.                 is no time for an "I'm sorry," "I love          Each of you are in my prayers this
                                             you," or "good-bye.” Their                     month.
                                                        Live on in my heart--              everlasting joy, my beautiful "sun-
       Grief Grafts                                      Our love--Eternal--               flower;" (she would choose that for
                                                                                           her symbol).
                                                                                           Hayley was born August 26, 1980,
     Malisa Pitts' daughter Amy Nycole                  Forever and a day--                in Louisville, KY she attended St.
 Darland (6-1-83) died 6-22-00. Malisa               Mom's first poem for Amy              Aloysius grade school and Bullitt
 shares:                                                                                   Central High in Shepherdsville, KY.
                                                                                           She was employed at Humana, Inc.
     The following is my first poem to my
                                              Amy's symbols are a heart
                                                                                           and a student at Jefferson
 beloved daughter, Amy. I'm actually                                                       Community College in Louisville at
 pleased that I was finally able to focus   with wings, mushrooms                          the time of her death.
 my thoughts, energy and emotions long      "shrooms" and Gemini.                             I am so very proud of her many
 enough to complete a project:                                                             accomplishments in a life of just
                                                                                           twenty years, most of which was
              WITHOUT YOU                     Carrie Elizabeth Griffin Boone (7-1-         simply to touch, with such warmth
                                            75), daughter of David and Debbie              and graciousness, the lives of so
   For a fleeting second, When I first      Griffin, died in an automobile accident, 6-    many people she knew and worked
                 wake up--                                                                 with. Hayley loved children the
    I try to pretend you're still here.     7-96. When her life ended, her daughter,
                                            Bailey Elizabeth Boone's life began.           most; meeting so many while
            But, just as quickly,                                                          working at McDonald's during high
           The pain crashes in--            Carrie was pregnant when the accident
                                                                                           school. Her next job at the YMCA
  My broken heart is filled with despair.   occurred. Debbie shares her pain:              preschool proved to bring many
         The tears fall silently,                                                          more friendships, both with
                                              I am fighting hard, and still struggling     children and their parents. I am so
        As I look at the picture--
    Of a daughter, I'm proud to call        with my daughter, Carrie's, death. Her         grateful for the many people who
                "mine"--                    baby, my granddaughter, Bailey, is             shared her life and continue to keep
    We only had 17 years together,          healthy and wonderfully happy, despite a       me a part of theirs sharing their
          To enjoy your life--              rough start, but was spared all the pain       memories in pictures, cards, letters,
  "Dear God, why couldn't we have just      we endured Her Mommy is an angel and           calls and visits. From the earliest
            had more time?"                 she'll tell you all about her, with stars in   baby-sitters, to the grade school
                                            her eyes. We are blessed!                      friends, teachers, Brownies and
    Your life ended unexpectedly and so                                                    Girl Scouts, to the high school
                  tragically--                                                             friends,    teachers     and   choir
               Along with it,                 Carrie's symbols are                         directors, to all the children who
   A big part of my "heart and soul;"       angels.                                        adored "Miss Hayley," to youth
            My precious Amy,                                                               groups, churches, and employers--
  I can't imagine my life without you--        Keith and Beverly Owen's daughter,          all complimented Hayley for the
      You're "Momma's Buddy, "and           Hayley (8-26-80), was killed in an             "beautiful person she was, inside
               I love you so.               automobile accident, 8-28-00. Beverly has      and out. "
                                            experienced the "coincidences" that we            It makes us smile through our
      I want to hear your voice,            have all experienced since the deaths of       tears to think how well she
    And see your beautiful smile—                                                          balanced       youthfulness      and
                                            our children, of how we meet our fellow
        "Dear God in heaven,                                                               maturity. She still enjoyed watching
  How could anyone expect 'a mom' to        travelers:
                                                                                           her Shirley Temple and Disney
                accept,                                                                    movie collections (while not
        That all of this will be-              Thank you so much for sending me            missing too many recent movies like
           "Never again?"                   LAMENTATIONS I am a new "fellow                Scream and Saving Private Ryan).
                                            traveler, " and here is a little bit of my     She routinely enjoyed listening to
 I'll treasure each and every moment we     "Love Story" (I'm not much of a "writer"       Broadway music like Showboat and
                had together.               to all, and I'm finding it very difficult to   Grease and Stephen Foster songs,
So many lives have been touched by your     articulate what I really want to say in        (while loving the Dixie Chicks,
                     love.                  cards and letters, but I know you'll           country and pop music). She played
     Being "Amy's Mom," is one of life’s    understand).                                   her high school choir Christmas
                greatest gifts--
                                               My only child, Hayley Marie Bridwell,       tape all year long. The day before
         For that, I thank God above.                                                      her accident (in August), she and I
                                            died August 28, 2000--a single car             were returning home from church
   "They say" that I have to "go on, "      accident. She was twenty years and two         singing Silent Night.
         And will enjoy life again-         days “young” and still living at home. My         I am so very grateful for a fast
                 Someday;                   husband, Keith, and I married when             growing "outer chain of support"-
 But for now, I live with endless pain—     Hayley was just 2 ½ years old, and Keith       the "fellow travelers." My first link
 And just pretend that I'm doing okay.      raised her as his own.                         in this gracious connection was
                                               Keith's daughter, Betsy, lives next door    Frank and Sharon Smith, whose
         Trying to be "strong,"             with her family, and we've all shared a        beautiful daughter, Frannie, is in
             Takes all I've got.            wonderful love and togetherness within         the Children of the Dome book.
     I pray for strength to find a way;     this "blended family." Hayley is my            Shortly thereafter, through a
      While the memories of my girl,                                                       completely different connection, I
 spoke with Ella and Willie Prater,            person he was, not the complete Bobby.      tremendous. She has changed so
 whose      lovely    daughter,     Merri.     So many people, adults and classmates,      much since the loss of her brother
 Meanwhile, Rosemary herself was call-         respected        him.     All     through   and best friend. I could write you
 ing and writing-- and I received my first     school teachers praised him for his in-     page after page on his life and how
 copy of her book. Thank you for adding        telligence and his behavior.                we loved him. But it still won't bring
 my name to your mailing list-- I have           The number of people that paid their      him back.
 found LAMENTATIONS so helpful. Just           respects showed us how he was thought            After waiting for a year and ten
 as I've come to include Drew, Jeremiah,       about. One teacher said that he was the     months for him to come home, we
 Frannie and Merri Kathryn as Hayley's         type of boy every mother wanted her         took some advice and moved. That
 newest friends in Heaven, I will also         daughter to date and marry. One of his      has not turned out to be the right
 remember and claim Young Jim. With            classmates told about the time they         thing to do. Now I feel I don't really
 each new honor of meeting                     were in Louisville at a convention to do    have a home. We moved Bobby's
      "Heavenly friends for Hayley," I         with technology when the fire alarm         furniture and personal stuff to the
 add their picture or symbol to her            went off at the hotel during the banquet.   house and put it in a bedroom. But it
 "curio cabinet collection," and I             They had to leave the building and it       isn't his house and this house doesn't
 remember each one in my thoughts and          was cold. Bobby took off his jacket and     feel like home. Our daughter was
 prayers.                                      gave it to her to wear. Others told us      against the move and has not
      As I refer to this "outer chain of       about what a good example he set for        adjusted, but this is her senior year
 support" or my "stranger friends," like       them and how he had witnessed to them.      so she figures she will soon be away
 ones I'm meeting through The Compas-          He always carried his Bible in his          at college so why get comfortable. I
 sionate Friends support group, please         backpack and car. Dairy Queen, where        think Bobby's symbols would have
 know that each of you, in fact, will be       Bobby worked, was closed the day of         been his Bible, his red car he really
 my strongest link of support over time.       his funeral so his friends and co-          appreciated and told us so many
      I've already come to realize, with       workers could attend.                       times that he did, and an eagle. He
 my tragedy only 3 months old that at            Buses and children, adults and cars       always wore an eagle ring and an
 some point, even family and friends may       stopped on the streets and sidewalks as     eagle anchor on a gold chain.
 feel the need to "move on." I know that       the procession took him to his final            The school gave us so many
 the "fellow travelers" will always be         resting place. The outpouring of love       memories to add to what we already
 content to walk with me the worn path         for him was tremendous. There were so       had. At senior night for football, he
 of sorrow.                                    many items the teens and others placed      was honored because he always
                                               in his casket. One girl gave him her fa-    taped the ball games. The school
     Hayley's symbol is a sun-                 vorite angel, her favorite beanie baby.     invited us to the banquet and
flower.                                          Another took off her bracelet that        honored him there. They invited us
                                               matched her ring and gave it to him so      to the graduation which was really
      Bobby ( 12-17-80 ), son of Floyd         they would always be a matched pair.        difficult, but they gave us a
 and Nadine Com, was killed in an                Even the boys wrote letters, cards and    shadowbox with a cap and gown and
 automobile accident, 8-22-98. Nadine          placed personal items in with him. We       his honor's tassels. We were given
 tells us about Bobby:                         found out what a difference he had          certificates signed by our people
                                               made in this world by people knowing        who represent our district here when
      It has taken me a long time to           him. We know what he meant to us as a       the house meets for their sessions,
 respond since the death of our son. It        son, brother and best friend.               his diploma, pictures, and so many
 has been a really difficult time for us. I      How do you go on? The road is so          things. A page was dedicated to him
 "like" reading about others in the same       long and hard to travel at times. I know    on the Internet at the schools site
 situation and how they are dealing with       Bobby is in heaven because, a few           that was done by one of his fellow
 their tragedies. Our son died August 22,      weeks before the accident, he told me he    young engineers.
 1998, and this will be our third              was ready for what God had in store for         (See if you don't see yourself in
 Thanksgiving without him. When will           him. Did he sense the end was near? A       Nadine's next paragraph)
 life seem normal or resemble some type        freak accident... why couldn't it have           Is there something terribly
 of normalcy? We are dreading the              been stopped?                               wrong with us that we can't seem to
 holidays. Everything has changed so             My husband and I were married 9           go forward at a steady pace without
 much.                                         years before our little miracle was         backtracking two or three steps?
      Bobby was a good young man at 17         given to us.     We had thought there       (This is normal with grief) I got
 ½ years old. It was the first week of his     might not be any children. Bobby was        really, angry last year about this
 senior year. On August 20, we                 my third pregnancy and he came into         same time and have not been able to
 celebrated his sister's 15th birthday and     this world at 34 weeks. I carried him       yet sweep it away. Depression is
 he had his senior portrait taken. The         longer than my girls, so he had a better    really a bad enemy of mine. It just
 next night he was gone from our lives. I      chance of living. We were so excited        drags me down and I am getting
 did not get to see my son that faithful       about our 4 lb., 8 oz. son. Three weeks     tired of trying to pull myself up and
 day to hold him, kiss him or tell him "I      in the hospital and he was at home for      go on. I would appreciate some
 love you." I know he knew that I did, but     us to take care of and enjoy... which we    words from one who knows how we
 I feel so very guilty for not being able to   did with pleasure. His sister was born      .feel, does it get better? It has to
 tell him one last time.                       after 28 weeks and spent 3 months in        somewhere and somehow.
      There is so much I could say about       the hospital. Bobby learned how to care
 Bobby. But words cannot really say how        for her and protect her when she was so     Bobby's symbol-
 we felt about him and what type of            tiny. The bond between them was             s are an eagle, a Bible,
                                                                                           and a red car
     Paul Grammatico (4-20-73), son of       and troubled children and families in         you have the chance to give the gift
Paul and Claudia, was killed by a drunk      crisis from Nassau and Suffolk Coun-          of life," Claudia told me.
driver 5-16-99. Since Paul's death, the      ties, as well as the Metropolitan area.           She thought of how Paul would
family has been tirelessly involved with          St. Mary's cares for more than 1000      answer. Paul, a stockbroker, was
the state of New York and National           children of all ages and from all walks       already a philanthropist who gave
Organ Donation Association. The              of life. In addition to the male residen-     generously to help needy children
following was written about the Paul         tial campus in Syosset, St. Mary's has        and to a favorite charity, the work of
Grammatico Memorial Fund which               five group homes in Nassau and Suffolk        the Sisters of Mercy in Brooklyn, NY.
benefits St. Mary's Children and Family      Counties, a Preventative Service Office       This mother knew that her son would
Services:                                    located in Garden City and more than          want her to say 'yes."
                                             130 foster families who provide emer-             Paul's heart now beats in the
     In May 1999, Paul Grammatico            gency care for children in need. The          chest of Joe Senatore of Bay Shore,
was a victim of a drunk driver in a fatal    Paul P. Grammatico Memorial Hall is           NY. His liver was given to a woman
car crash. Paul was a healthy, vibrant,      a state-of-the-art unit that houses chil-     in New York; one of his kidneys was
young man who just turned 26, and had        dren ages 13-17 that have fallen victim       transplanted in a woman from
already attained many accomplishments        to abuse and have been removed from           Kansas with three children, the other
in his career as a successful                their homes. This facility allows the         to a man in Nevada with two
stockbroker, having risen to the vice        children to live with dignity as they are     children; a lung went to a nurse in
president level with a major investment      counseled and given a second chance           Massachusetts; his bone will help
firm. Paul was an extremely generous,        in life.                                      heal children with spinal and joint
caring, family-oriented person who was            It means a lot to Paul’s family to       deformities and his skin aided burn
an innocent passenger in a car who           have friends that may have not had the        victims needing skin grafts.
happened to be in the wrong place at         opportunity to know Paul in life learn            Nine lives have been saved, and
the wrong time. Due to Paul’s extraor-       about this special young man, and help        this "brought Paul back to me in a
dinary physical condition, the first         keep the essence of his wonderful spirit      different way," Claudia said. She
                                                                                           now calls herself "Donor Mom." Her
emotionally trying decision his family       alive with the important work being
                                                                                           experience has given her a mission:
was confronted with was organ dona-          done in his memory.                           to educate people about the
tion. When learning that Paul could                                                        importance of organ donation.
literally give life to upwards of ten peo-      The following article was written              Claudia says that giving Paul’s
ple, Paul’s parents and sister made the      December 10, 1999, by Antoinette              organs to others has "made all the
courageous decision to donate his or-        Bosco for The Catholic Free Press:            difference in how I cope as well as
gans, certainly the ultimate act of giv-                                                   how I go on with my life." This
ing. Knowing her son lives on in others           Claudia Grammatico knows that            Catholic mother says that she, too, is
and helped so many lives even in death,      Christmas will be a difficult holiday for     a "transplant recipient," with a "new
has led Paul's mother to becoming an         her this year. It will be her first one       heart and spirit" to be of service to
activist and spokesperson on behalf of       without her son Paul. Yet she'll be re-       others in "their trauma, sorrow,
the New York Organ Donor Network             joicing in her soul, knowing that be-         grief and transformation.”
and MA.D.D. However, it has not              cause of Paul, nine people who had                She now works with the New York
stopped here. Paul’s family is commit-       been fatally ill will be alive to celebrate   Organ Donor Network and has
ted to continue to give, and have dedi-      this and many Christmases to come.            launched a donor support group, the
cated themselves to the creation of a             On May 16, Claudia, her husband          first ever started by a mother.
foundation in Paul's memory.                 Paul and their daughter Christine got             At Christmas there will be tears
     Through the Sisters of Mercy, a me-     the terrible news that devastates a fam-      in the Grammatico home, but not
morial fund was created to help keep his     ily. Paul Jr., 26, and a friend, Michael      bitter ones. A family of faith, they
spirit alive. Thanks to the support of       Penny, 25, had been fatally injured           can rejoice for having been the
family and friends, tens of thousands of     when a drunken driver slammed into            instrument through which Paul in
dollars have been raised on behalf of St.    their vehicle. Michael died instantly:        death, gave life to others.
Mary's. As a sign of ongoing com-            Paul was brought to the hospital "brain
mitment for this worthwhile cause, on        dead.”
May 19th, 2000, the first anniversary of          "You're in such shock. I didn't            An article in Newsday, dated
his death, a building in Paul’s name         recognize my handsome, blonde, green-         April 11, 2000, and written by David
was dedicated on the grounds of St.          eyed son's face. I recognized his arms        Schrens explains why Claudia be-
Mary’s Children and Family Services in       and legs, “said Claudia. But almost           came involved in organ donation:
Syosset. The building is called the Paul     immediately she had to go beyond her
P. Grammatico Memorial Hall.                 tears and pain to make a decision.               Paul's death inspired Claudia
     The Sisters of Mercy was Paul's         Medical professionals were asking her         Grammatico to become what she
favorite charity, and this Foundation        if the family would consider donating         calls a donor mom.    After   the
allows Paul to continue to give, even in     Paul's organs to people in need of            fatal crash, Claudia became an
death.                                       transplants.                                  activist in the New York Organ
     St. Mary’s Children and Family               Momentarily, this request seemed         Donor Network, speaking at local
Services, founded in 1894 by the Sisters     like a violation of her son. But then         hospitals about the importance of
of Mercy, is a non-profit, non-sectarian     came a profound realization. "In that         the program.
agency caring for abused. neglected          moment,
     Her decision to make the organ          MOM" and there is a bumper sticker           would have to be KIND, for he was
donations, in turn, prompted other           which says "A drunk driver killed            the kindest person we knew. If we had
people to contribute to the fund. Joe        someone I love"                              to pick another word to describe him,
Carlomusto, for instance, a Davis                                                         it would have to be HEART, for he
Vision executive, pledged on-campus                                                       had the biggest heart in the world.
                                                  Butterflies are painted on                  Robert was the light of his
eye exams and eyeglasses to teenagers        the van.                                     parents' life, the protector of Kelly
at the Syosset facility.                                                                  Anne, Valerie and Jeanne, best
     Unlike some parents, Claudia                Trish Kochersperger's son, Stephen       brother to Jim, Jim and Mike, Nora
Grammatico has not made .frequent            (9-7-81), died in an auto accident, 5-18-    and Sean's godfather, favorite uncle
visits to her son's grave. "In donating      99. Trish wrote about what she has           to Conor and William, best friend,
Paul's organs to save other people's         learned:                                     lover and companion to Lisa, "Meat"
lives, I don't think of my son being there                                                to the Sigma Gamma fraternity and
in a cemetery.” When she wishes to be             Thank you for sending me the back       to his friends -- HEAD. He got the
alone with her memories, she goes to         issues of LAMENTATIONS They have             nickname "HEAD" at 8 years old
Valley Stream State Park, where a tree       given me comfort along with tears as I       when he tripped on a gutter on his
was planted in Paul's name.                  read along.                                  parent's roof fell off and landed on
     "I know that other people are living                                                 his head and they all said "Head;" a
                                                  If there is one thing I've learned      name that stuck with him for the rest
because of Paul, so there is life after      over the past months, it's that we are       of his life. Robert had a network of
life," she said. "It doesn't make my days    definitely not alone in our grief and that   friends. He was like a pebble you
any less painful, but it has give me a       there are families with even more tragic     threw in the water that would
cause."                                      circumstances than ours.                     continue to ripple. In the last few
     This summer, she will drive to               I know, without a doubt, that one of    days, it was obvious how many
Syosset to visit the cottage bearing her     the biggest reasons (besides my faith        people he touched.
son's name, "I'll tell those boys, 'You      and hope of eternal life with the Lord), I       Generosity came naturally to him
know, you too can graduate from school       was able to face each day was my             in that he was most comfortable when
and go on to be a success, '" So she feels   daughter Jamie.She was fourteen when         he was giving to others. The last
her son lives on.”Just not the way I         her older brother, Stephen, was killed in    thing you ever wanted to do was tell
would have chosen it. "                      a car accident after school (May 18,         Robert that you liked something he
                                             1999). He was 17.                            was wearing, or anything in his
    Claudia writes poetry. The follow-            Of course you know the devastation      apartment. All you had to do was
ing are several of her poems:                                                             admire an item he owned and you
                                             we are experiencing. He was a great          were leaving his apartment with it.
       Sacred Heart                          kid. He loved life, was quite humorous       Dad must have given Robert 20
    Your Sacred Heart Paul                   and had many friends. His passions           claddagh tie clips and he gave them
    is not just an Image                     were ice and roller hockey (at which he      all away.
    or a metaphor                            was quite skilled) and his red 2-door            We all knew that Robert loved to
    but a reality!                           Honda Civic. But, above all, he loved        collect Superb owl MVP plaques. He
    With wondering Sadness                   hanging out with his friends. He was on      wanted to collect a plaque for every
    I whispered "Yes"                        his way to the baseball field to meet his    Super bowl. However, someone
    and donated                              friends to watch the girl's softball team    would walk into his apartment during
                                             play when he had the accident.               one of his countless parties, and say
    a Most Generous Heart.                                                                "This plaque is great." Robert would
    Transforming your earthly self                Life continues to go on and we go
                                             along with it. However, as you well          take it off the wall and say "It's
    into a symbol of sharing.                                                             yours." He was more than happy to
                                             know, the tug at our hearts is always
                                             there. The longing to see Stephen and        do it. We .finally learned not to show
    I WEEP bucketfuls                                                                     too much excitement when Robert
    when I try to comprehend                 hear his voice and laughter is always        said "check out this plaque," so we
    that in a precious moment                here. I look forward to the day when I'll    wouldn't leave with it.
    You slipped out of life.                 see my precious red-head again.                   Two     of    Robert's     greatest
                                                  If I were to pick a symbol for          attributes were trust and loyalty. You
    Listen to your heart                     Stephen, it would have to be "00"            could tell Robert anything and he
    and hear it beating.                     (double 0). That was his hockey number       would never feel compelled to repeat
    You are a chain now                      and many of his hockey pals and their        it. Robert was always the first one to
    inside the veins of another.             parents called him that.                     offer his assistance in any task
                                                                                          needed. Whether you asked him to
    With your last breath, Paul,
    You saved futures!                                          #00                       help you move, pull shrubs, or build a
                                                                                          deck, he'd be the first one to arrive at
                                                  Bob and Ellen Conroy's son Robert       your door with enough coffee for
    My Dear Son                                                                           everyone. You could always count on
    I am so proud of you.                    (8-17-63), died suddenly from an an-         him when you needed a friend, an ear
                                             eurysm 2-1-98. The family has formed         or a big shoulder to lean on. Robert
     Paul's symbol is a butterfly. Claudia   a foundation in his memory. Robert's         would listen intently, never growing
sent me a picture of her van. The            sister, Valerie, gave this eulogy:           bored, never judging or questioning,
licenses plate reads, "DONOR                      If anyone were to pick one word to      and had an uncanny sense of how to
                                             describe Robert Anthony Conroy, Jr. it       comfort you.
     Robert was extremely close to his       to her and she never knew why. No one          you do you'll know we're thinking
father. They were each other's best          did. She was his baby. Robert has left a      of you and all the miles in between
friend. Dad would go to Robert's             permanent impression on Mike as well.         and we're just calling one last time
apartment just to hang out and drink         For Christmas this year, he gave Mike         not to change your mind, but just to
coffee. But of course, Robert never had      the perfect gift, A tattoo of the             say we'll miss you baby, good luck,
any sugar for him. Dad couldn't leave        University of Michigan. Some, who             good-bye. "
without checking the fluids in Robert's      Robert knew only a few days, later said            The reason why the family has
car. Dad and Robert continually              they     would     win     the National       asked people to give to St. Jude's
competed in a weight contest. Robert         Championship.                                 Cancer Research Hospital in
would walk in and say "Hey Tubb,"                Life for Robert truly took on a new       Memphis, TN is because Robert was
which was always his way of                  meaning when he met Lisa. With Lisa,          a great contributor to that charity.
challenging Dad to a weight contest.         Robert was willing to try anything new.       After seeing a story about St. Jude's
     They would each get on the scale        Never one to shop for himself, Lisa en-       Hospital several years ago, Robert
Believe it or not, Robert always weighed     couraged him to shop at places like the       made monthly contributions to this
                                             Gap. He was so impressed with her             charity.
more. They just recently bet fifty dollars
                                             bargain-hunting. She never let him pay             We'll never forget Robert, we
on who weighed more. Robert lost             retail. Together, they shared a trip to       just couldn't. Because, for each and
again. My mother always thought that         Vermont, a champagne tasting, the             every one of us, there's at least 10
Robert would let my father win. Cer-         Christmas Spectacular at Radio City           stories and many great lines about
tainly not surprising.                       and dinner at Tavern on the Green and         him. Moreover, he wouldn't want us
     Mom always called Robert "The           his first Broadway play. Lisa said that       to cry for him, he would want us to
Messiah." At the countless times the         no matter what she was wearing, he al-        think of him. So THINK of him
family got together, including Arbor         ways said she looked beautiful. Lisa          when you're drinking a Bud, LOOK
Day, Robert always showed up an hour         supported Robert when he decided to           for him when you're at a .lets game,
after everyone else. When Robert             quit smoking. A feat he did accomplish.       he just might be sitting at the end of
walked around the side of the house,             There are many, many stories about        the bench; HEAR him when you
mom's face would light up and we could       Robert. When he was a paper boy,              laugh; THINK of him the next time
now start the party. Among the many          Robert rarely delivered the papers on         you're watching Arthur, Easy
other things mom would get Robert for        time. One time, after lacrosse practice,      Money or Fast Times at Ridgemont
Christmas, she would give him a basket       he didn't start delivering the papers un-     High; FEEL him the next time
full of staples from toilet paper to         til 8:00 PM As he was sneaking up to          someone slaps you on the back after
Wheaties because she knew her sonny          every door and throwing the paper, one        a joke is told, and BE him when you
boy would be too busy taking care of         of his customer's outside light went on.      do something nice for somebody
everyone else to bother about his own            The man swung open the door and           else.
needs. Mom would always make that            asked Robert why the paper was so late.            Thank you Robert. Thank you
extra plate, put it in Tupperware and        Quick on his feet, Robert told him that       for all the laughs and the good
leave it for him so that Robert could        Newsday was trying a new thing. A late-       times. Thank you for being the most
enjoy a good meal at the end of his day.     night edition of the paper to see if the      wonderful son that God put on this
     It was with mom that Robert             customers preferred it. The customer          earth. Thank you for being the
                                             said, "Well, you tell them at Newsday, I      greatest brother in the whole world.
showed his secretive and vulnerable
                                             don't like it." Robert said "Okay sir, I'll   Thank you for being Uncle Bob.
side. Whether it be in a poem he wrote                                                            Thank you for being the
to her on Mother's Day in 1994, the          mark you down as a 'No.'"
                                                 Robert and our family just adored all     sweetest most considerate boyfriend
twenty-eight cent bouquet of daisies, the                                                  to Lisa. Thank you for being the
Waterford Crystal paper weight he            of his friends. They wanted to contribute
                                             to this eulogy, but could not describe        most trusted and loyal friend, and
thought was a Christmas Tree that he                                                       Thank you jar the immeasurable joy
gave 10 her, or his toast at mom's 60th      Robert in just one or two funny stories,
                                             because there were too many good              you brought to everyone you
birthday party, she was The only one for                                                   touched. You were
                                             times. They all agree that the lyrics of
whom he could put into words his deep        Bruce Springsteen's song "Bobby Jean"              George Bailey, The Richest
love.                                        came as close as possible to what they        Man in Town. We love you. Fly with
     In 1996, Mr. Guinness sponsored         felt for him. We would like to share a        the angels and be our angel in
Robert so he could get into Local 52. As     few verses with you. "Now you hung            Heaven. We'll say "See ya for now.
a member, he worked as a grip con-           with me when all the others turned            You are the best of the best. A true
structing movie sets. He was so grateful     away, turned up their noses, we like the      enigma. The Candy Man. Thank
to Mr. Guinness for getting him this job.    same music, we like the same bands, we        God for you. Good-bye our sonny
also, Robert was thrilled to work on the     like the same clothes. We told each           boy."
movie "Donnie Brasco,” which was one         other that we were the wildest, the
of his favorite books. Robert was able to                                                      Robert's mother tells of several
                                             wildest things we'd ever seen, now we         ways Robert is being remembered:
obtain an autographed picture of Al          wish you would have told us, we wished
Pacino addressed to his mom which he         we could have talked to you, just to say          Our daughter, Valerie, and
was so excited to give to her.               'good-bye.' Maybe you'll be out there on      Robert's     friends    started    a
     Robert loved to dance. One of the       that road somewhere, in some bus or           foundation called "The Robert A.
last times we saw him dance was at           train traveling along, in some motel          Conroy, Jr. Foundation.” We have
Jeanne and Mikes wedding. She was his        room there'll be a radio playing and          a picnic in the park every year on a
"Little Stink;" a nickname he gave           you'll hear us sing this song. Well, if       date in August that is
the closest to his birthday, which is            Finally, after thirteen years of mar-   like you better if you don't make
August 17th. Last August, over 300          riage, Trevor came along. He was lit-        good grades." He kept that
friends and family attended. We also        erally dropped into our laps. We had         philosophy throughout his school
have a horse race named after him at        given up on trying to have children and      years, regardless of how hard his
Belmont Race Track every year. His          decided that this was the way it was go-     dad and I tried to get him to do bet-
friends run a golf outing every summer      ing to be for us, but because of a friend    ter. It was not that he was incapable
in his memory. We have established a        from back home we were able to adopt.        of making the grades; he would
scholarship at his high school in his            It was the greatest gift we ever had    always score in the 99th percentile
name.                                       been given. Our lives were now full and      on his Iowa's. He really believed
     With the money raised for the foun-    complete. He filled our every waking         that other people wouldn't like him
dation, we adopted 10 families (this        moment with happiness and joy. It was        as much if he did.
year) for Thanksgiving and for Christ-      as if God had made him specialy just for          Trevor found that special group
mas, 5 (this year) families with teenag-    us. I used to tell him this all the time.    of friends during his eleventh year of
ers.                                             As a small child, Trevor learned        school. He had a group of six boys
     In an article written by Carolyn       things very quickly. He was walking by       who were similar to him. His dad
James, Robert was described as:             the time he turned nine months, talking      asked him one day why one of the
     A young man who lived his life with    in sentences by one and one half years,      boys wore his hair a certain way and
a keen sense of awareness about, and a      and reading before he turned three. We       he said, "Dad, we don't ask those
deep, abiding concern for others.           had him tested at Wright State Uni-          kinds of questions, we accept each
     Nothing came easy to him, said his     versity when he was not quite three and      other just the way we are. If one of
sisters, except his ability to reach out,   he was shown to be reading at third          us wants to go do something
be kind and be generous.                    grade level. His vocabulary was more         different than the others, no one
     "I remember the time that he was       of an adult's than a child's. I remember     questions it." This group of friends
watching a commercial for St. Jude's        one time we were in a store and I had        gave him the confidence to grow and
Hospital," said his sister Valerie          gotten him a candy bar. He was around        feel more secure with who he was.
                                            two at the time and he said, "Um, this is
McKenna. "He didn't have a cent to his                                                   Because of this, he was able to go
                                            delicious." Some gentleman overheard
name, but he called and made a monthly      him say this and said, "I don't believe I    out and do the things he wanted to
contribution through his credit card. He    ever heard a child that young use that       do without being afraid of being
said those kids really needed it more       word before." He had a playmate who          judged by his peers. I say that they
than he did and that he'd get the money     was about a year and one half older          gave him the wings to fly.
somehow."                                   than himself who couldn't read. He                Trevor played sports and loved
     Even in death, Robert continued        knew Trevor could, so he would bring         basketball. He played from the time
giving. His family donated his organs as    his book over and ask Trevor to tell him     he was in Kindergarten. He was in
a gift of life to those in need.            what it said. He then would go home to       AAU for three years and traveled all
     "He would have wanted that; there      his older brother and tell him what the      over with them. His team won the
was no one like him,” said another sis-     story was about.                             State Championship and went to
ter, Kelly Anne Cronin. "He worried              Trevor learned to say the Pledge of     Orlando to play for the National
about us, and was our big protector and     Allegiance at two. We were coming            Championship.
he loved to laugh.” .....                   home from Florida and we would see                They placed twelfth although
                                            all the flags flying. He would ask me        several of the boys didn't make the
    Robert's symbol is a crow.              what they were and I told him that they      trip. At the end of his tenth grade
                                            were the symbol of our country's free-       year, he decided that he would
                                            dom. We pledge our allegiance to our         rather be on the other side as a
     Trevor (11-29-81) is the son of                                                     referee. He refereed first through
                                            country by honoring the flag. I showed
Howard and Bonnie Lowe; he died from        him how you put your hand over your          sixth grades for two years and really
an accident 3-5-00. Bonnie wrote this       heart and repeat the pledge. He learned      loved it. He loved working with
letter seven months after Trevor's death:   the pledge on that trip and was asked by     young children and teaching them.
                                            adults to repeat it so many times that he    He also announced the Junior High
     As I sit here, my son Trevor, has                                                   football games on Saturdays, kept
been gone for seven months. The pain of     became tired of it. I would have to bribe
                                            him to get him to say it after that.         the scoreboard and time for the
his loss grows with each passing day.
                                                 When Trevor started first grade, he     reserve girl's basketball games and
We had never been apart for more than
three weeks total in his eighteen years,    was well above most students in his          was a line judge and announcer for
three months, and five days of life. We     writing ability. He wrote a story entitled   girl's volleyball.
were such a close family that we never      "The Flying School" and won the Young             Sports weren't his only interest.
wanted to spend time apart.                 Author's Award at Main Elementary in         He also was in the musical, "Once
         When my husband Howard and I       Beaver Creek. But making good grades         Upon A Mattress, “and was in the
were first married, we wanted a large       was never what motivated Trevor. He          Electric Car Club. In the musical, he
family. I couldn't have children because    wanted the acceptance of his classmates      was to play the part of Lord Stephen.
of endometriosis. I had surgeries and       more than grades. When he was in the         With the Electric Car Club, Trevor
took fertility drugs. We watched our        sixth grade, he came home with a not so      was designing the new car that the
brothers and sisters having children and    good report card. His dad asked him          club will use next year. Many times,
it hurt.                                    what happened. He said, "Dad, people         he would leave
directly from refereeing to work on the      loved to tell jokes and watch comedies.     Three airplanes in the sky above me
car, without stopping for lunch. If you      His jokes were often of the pun variety.    As they flew out of sight,
knew anything about Trevor, it was that      He could make people laugh with stories     I thought with very much delight;
he loved to eat. If he was willing to give   of things that really happened. Often       "May the airplane zoom and soar
it up, you could bet he really enjoyed       they were stories about the kids that he    Through the skies, forevermore."
working on the car and refereeing the        was refereeing in basketball or the
kids. In lieu of flowers, we asked people    parents. I can see him now, they would        Trevor's sym-
to contribute to the Electric Car Club.      take three or four steps without drib-      bols are an
Over $4,000 was contributed.                 bling the ball. He said, "Mom, I let them   airplane and a
     Not only did Trevor do all these                                                    white butterfly.
                                             do this three or four times with just a
things and go to school, but also when
he was at home, he was busy constantly.      warning before I would call a foul. Then
                                             I would walk up slowly and shake my            Rex and Rose Dawson's son,
He loved airplanes more than anything                                                    David (10-6-63) was killed in an
else. He would take ordinary art paper       finger, all the while smiling, and say,
                                                                                         automobile accident, 8-5-99. The
and create scale airplanes without any       'naw, naw you can't do that.
                                                                                         following poem was written by a
patterns. He would draw out each piece            You must dribble the ball. You can't   friend of David's on the day after
and then assemble them in incredible         carry it. Here, like this, ' and he would   David's death. She baby-sat for him:
detail. Airplanes from the Wright            proceed to show them how.                      The Dave Dawson I knew
Brother's biplane and WWI planes all              When Trevor would come home
the way to the Stealth Bomber. One of        after school, his dad was usually           He loved to hunt most anything...
his favorites was the Tri-plane that         watching the Stock Market channel on        Turkey, deer or any wild game.
Baron Van Richter flew during WWI.           TV. He would come in, take his shoes off
He made this plane many times on             at the door between the kitchen and         Fishing was the next in line,
several different scales and even had his                                                Bringing back a mess every time.
                                             dining room, and come straight on in to
senior picture taken holding one of          see what the market was doing. He           Boating and camping were up there
them.                                        would talk to his dad about his day for a   too,
     Trevor loved to work with Lego’s.       few minutes, and then head for the          From the list of things, he loved to
He would create incredible designs out       kitchen table to do his homework. He        do.
of all the kits. He would then combine       usually had some activity going on after
all the pieces together and make some-       school so he would eat and be gone a lot    But his pride and joy
thing new and different. At night, you       of the time before I got home.              More than play,
would hear him digging through all the                                                   Was talking about Alex
                                                  We have started a memorial schol-
pieces, looking for just the right one.                                                  And her number of “A's.”
                                             arship fund at Oakwood High School for
Most of the time he was making air-                                                      You can still see the glisten
planes with all kinds of moving parts,       a graduating senior who is part of the      In his eye,
motors, hydraulic landing gear, propel-      gifted program, and has a financial         And the joyous smile,
lers, etc. He would bring each new de-       need. Also, Trevor had a drawing in the     His feeling of pride.
sign for us to look at and have his dad      Dayton Peace Accords Student Art
critique it.                                 Exchange, which was on display at the       A wonderful father
     He loved to draw. He was into the       Dayton Art Institute and then went to       And a great friend,
animation cartoons from Japan and            Sarejevo. It was then on display in the     We are all so sorry it all had to end.
would draw all the characters from           K-12 Gallery in November, '00. We have
                                                                                         I will never forget you
Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z. He             contributed to this in Trevor's memory.     Not for a minute,
drew a picture of himself and his friends    We also purchased a seat at Oakwood         This world's been much better
as they usually looked. (See below) He       High School's auditorium renovation.        To have had you in it!
drew himself with his oversized coat and          Trevor was our life and to think of    -Robbin Richie
headphones. He created a web page            living without him is almost more than
called "Dragonball Z Online" and put         his father and I can bear. He lit up our      Dave's symbol is a
the pictures he had drawn of the             lives in such a special way. His smile      red sunset.
characters on the page.                      was infectious, his presence a vital
     He loved to listen to the oldies        force, and his energy abundant. Please        James Hardison (3-3-84), son of
music and usually wore his headphones        pray for us that God will give us some      James and Malissia, died from an
to and from school. He kept a CD             sense of peace and a purpose to go on       aneurysm, as a result of Ehlers-
player in the truck that he always drove.    with life.                                  Danlos Syndrome, type VI 11-13-
His music wasn't the loud hard rock of            Trevor wrote this poem:                96. I am constantly remind- ed of
many teenagers, but the music from my
                                                               Airplanes                 the    far-reaching   effects  of
generation with some of today's music                                                    LAMENTATIONS. Malissia wrote:
thrown in. He also liked comical music           Flying, soaring, zooming high; Like
such as Weird Al Yankovich. His fa-          an eagle in the sky,                          We would like to get in touch with
vorite song was a Simon and Garfunkel            Above my head, airplanes soared         Paul and Opal Rice. Our son, like
tune, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters."             While their giant engines roared.       Debbie,     had      Ehlers-Danlos
     Trevor had a great sense of humor.          A fighter, bomber, and Concorde.        Syndrome, Type VI and we have
He always had a smile on his face. He            I watch with envy as I see              never known
anyone other than our son who had this        concern was how we would be without            We miss our daughter more than
disease. We think that it will really help    her. The first time we sat as a family      we can describe and hope, as a
us to talk with someone about E.D.S.          and spoke of her death, her eldest          result of her death, and through her
     It has been 4 years since James'         brother said she would never leave him      foundations efforts, that others will
death and it is still very hard. The fol-     and so it has been. While I can no          talk the simple steps to prevent this
lowing is what we put in the paper in         longer put my arms about her, I do feel     from happening to themselves and
memory of James:                              her spirit, and have to be content with     their loved ones.
            In Loving Memory of               asking the Lord to hug her for me.             The mission of the foundation is
         James Edward Hardison II                                                         dedicated to increasing public
                                                       This is Colette's Story:           awareness regarding the dangers
               3/3/84 - 11/13/96
                                                   Colette was an extraordinary young     and causes of skin cancer and
                      Son                                                                 changing attitudes and behaviors
                                              woman, the finishing touch who com-
    Four years have come and gone             pleted the circle of our Irish-Catholic     toward unsafe tanning and sun
since you've moved on to your heavenly        family. She had three brothers and a        exposure. They encourage everyone
home. You're in our hearts and in our         sister, who was the closet in age to her.   to do self body exams and see a
thoughts. So, we're never really for               At 22 years old, she had part of a     dermatologist regularly-- To be Sun
apart. We wait for the day for Jesus to       mole, a birthmark, removed. Four years      Smart!
come. Then we will be with you in your        later, she noticed the remaining portion       The foundation is achieving their
heavenly home.                                had changed, and brought it to the          goals by educating parents and
    So, wait at the gate, son. We won't       attention of her dermatologist. She was     children in the schools, public
be late, and that will be the day we will     then referred to a plastic surgeon,         recreational       facilities    and
all celebrate, when we see your angel         whose surgery left a three inch scar,       community-based organizations.
face.                                         quite wide and noticeable. Melanoma            The foundation raises money by
                                              was not diagnosed.                          sponsoring an annual dinner dance
                                                   In April 1998, four years after the    and auction, an annual Miles for
James' symbols are a football
                                              surgery, Colette complained of soreness     Melanoma Walk/Run school-based
and an angel.                                                                             education initiatives and ongoing
                                              under her arm. On May 4th, a
                                              sonogram revealed four tumors. On           community         education      and
     Pat and Colette Coyne's daughter,        May 8th, she was told she had cancer,       awareness programs.
Colette (10-10-68) died from Melanoma         the type that had not been defined until
10-27-98. Colette speaks of our               her appointment May 11th with the              The foundation has published a
"calling" as grieving parents, and about      breast surgeon, at which time we had        very informative pamphlet which
the foundation the family has                 heard the word MELANOMA.                    includes Melanoma statistics, signs
established in their daughter Colette's            On May 12th the surgeon at             of which you should be aware, in-
memory:                                       Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital           creased risk factors, and prevention
     Never did I imagine the support and      informed her the tumors were                tips. If you would like further
strength that I would receive and con-        inoperable. On May 13th, the oncologist     information:
tinue to experience from other grieving       at Sloan told us it was "very bad" and
parents.                                      made arrangements for chemotherapy.         Web page is,,
     This terrible loss that was only sup-    It was unsuccessful.                        Email     is
posed to be "way out there" in some far            The horrible Melanoma Monster          Telephone 516-352-4227
away place is, in fact, in the midst of all   had now spread to her liver, lungs,         Fax: 516-248-8037 or write to:
of us. If we tried to live meaningful         bones and brain. It was August 10th and     CCMAC
lives, we were to spend our days in rea-      she was told there wasn't any further       (Colette Coyne Melanoma Aware-
sonable happiness. Yes, that is what we       treatment for her. She was terminal.        ness Campaign)
all dreamed would be possible, and yet,            After her initial shock, she spent a   P.O. Box 1179
                                              period of time grieving for her life and    New Hyde Park, NY 11040
the reality of the real word, the world of
pain and suffering, has touched us.           the one she would never have. She then
                                              was determined not to be a cancer               Colette's symbol is a
     Thankfully, we come to realize that                                                  sunflower     and    it   is
                                              victim, and never for a moment did she
this truly is only a journey and our          allow herself to be. She faced her death    incorporated in the logo for
children have accomplished what was to        and spent her remaining time gifting        her foundation.
be. Our road has yet to finish and the        friends and family with her love and
fear of that unknown is no longer a part      presents she picked especially for them.      Bob and Norma Sisemore's son,
of us. Each of us tries to make some               She planned her funeral and made       Eric (5-17-83), was killed in an
sense of this loss, knowing our children      her last wishes clearly known. She          ATV accident, 9-21-00. Here is
have left us with a calling that we must      ministered to our family, enabling them     Eric's story:
individually find in order to heal the        to share her pain along with her love         Where to begin? I have lost the
brokenness within and about us.               and laughter. She prepared them for         baby of my family. I, on the other
     Our daughter Colette's example of        what was to be.                             hand, have not lost but gained in
caring throughout her life and even                She died the night of October 27,      the assurance that I have a child in
through the painful months of her illness     1998, at home in the arms of her broth-     Heaven. I hurt too much, yet have a
continues to inspire us. Her                  er and sister in our presence.              peace within me. Some days I can
accept what has happened to my family        There was no pain, no suffering, and no        from a partner there. They both
and others, I cry, ask "Why?" and try to     agonizing disabilities that would even-        agreed it was probably nothing, but
figure out how I am going to change my       tually take his life. Just a peaceful sleep.   decided it should come off anyway. So
situation. You know only so well these       I sometimes say that I have last my san,       they removed it and sent it to
feelings.                                    but he is not lost. I know exactly where       pathology.
   I had Eric Norman Sisemore on May         he is, he is in Heaven with Jesus.                Robby was diagnosed with
17, 1983. At the time of his birth, he had        I have read every newsletter and I        malignant melanoma, January 5,
a brother, Jeremy, who was five and a        have read Rosemary Smith's book. I was         2000. At that time, I had never heard
sister, Christi, who was three. Eric and     looking for answers to my pain and for         of melanoma. So I was not as alarmed
his siblings were friends throughout         someone to tell me when the hurting will       as I would later become. Melanoma is
                                             stop. I realize now that I was never           an aggressive, sometimes fatal skin
their entire childhood. We live on a                                                        cancer. It all started with one small
farm and they went to a private school       going to stop laving Eric and so the
                                             pain of his death will never stop. I will      mole on his back. He went through
twenty miles away, so it wasn't easy to                                                     several surgeries, and three different
have friends over every day so they          never get "aver his death;" I will just
                                             learn to live with it.                         chemotherapy regimes. He went
played with each other. Even after                                                          through so much, that sometimes we
Jeremy went away for college, Eric and            Your timing of the newsletters was
                                             perfect. I was dreading the holidays. As       never realized the depth of it all, until
his brother kept their relationship                                                         his doctors would remind us. He was
strong with Eric going to Jeremy's for       I read of same of the ways people
                                             coped, I knew we could make it. I              so brave, and didn't want any
the weekend occasionally. This past                                                         sympathy from anyone. Most people,
summer, Eric began working part-time         needed to know that Thanksgivings and
                                                                                            just to see or meet him, would not
with Christi's fiancée. He worked in the     Christmases would not came easy, but           have known how sick he was. He
family business with his father and I        that they WOULD came and I WOULD               never talked about his illness. He
whenever possible. Eric was a wrestler       be able to remember Eric in special            wanted to be treated just like he
and worked long and hard hours at the        ways. Thank Gad for my memories!!!             always had been.
school gym. Whatever he was into, he         Those memories helped decorate the                Robby thought from the very begin-
                                             tree, helped with special gifts and made       ning that God had a plan for his life.
gave it his all; working, playing,
                                             the macaroni taste even better this year       Robby thought Gad was using him to
hunting, and riding horses, Sea dos"         (Eric’s favorite)!
and ATVs. He was the bay that                                                               show him and his young friends that
                                                  We are struggling with each new           they should have their lives right with
everybody watched. He was a country          day. We do have some goad news.
boy with the smile that lit up the world                                                    the Lard, because you never know
                                             Christi is getting married June 2, 2001,       what can happen at any age. This was
and the eyes of laughter in everything       and Jeremy is marrying December 29,
he did. And that is the last thing his                                                      to be a "wake up call,” so to speak.
                                             2001. Eric loved both choices and we              Robby was not an angel. He was a
sister, Christi, heard him do LAUGH.         know he would approve.
She heard his four wheeler coming                                                           typical college sophomore. He liked to
                                                                                            party and have fun. And even when
through the dark, traveling fast, and he         Struggling but Surviving, Norma            sick, there were days he felt pretty
and his cousin, Adam (also his best                                                         goad, and he would always find some-
friend) laughing so loud that she even                                                      thing to do.
                                             Eric's symbols are cowboy
laughed. Then silence. The ATV had                                                               Through all of this, Robby had a
slipped and both boys, without helmets,      boots and a rottweiler.
                                                                                            strong faith in Gad. We never realized
had hit hard. We had rules about the                                                        how strong, until he got sick. He spent
helmets, but that night they were                                                           his last six weeks in a hospital, sur-
ignored. Adam was released the next              Cindy and Rusty Meeks' son Robby           rounded by family and friends who
morning from Vanderbilt hospital and         (3-8-80) died from Melanoma, 8-20-00.          loved him dearly. Each day Robby
Eric lived for five days. This is where      Cindy shares Robby with us:                    would have a different person pick a
the hurt begins and so far it has not let                                                   Bible verse to be put an the bulletin
up.                                               Robby was 19 years old and a              board in his roam. By the fourth day,
    Eric received Christ as his Savior       sophomore      at    Morehead     State        he said it was his turn. He had studied
when he was eleven. He was by no             University. He and his brother, Ryan,          and studied verse, wanting to find just
means perfect. He was your typical fun-      who is 16 months alder, were renting a         the right one. I think he did. Robby
loving, sometimes sassy and unpleasant       house together and going to school.            picked the 40th Psalm verses 1-3. "I
teenager. He knew right from wrong           Robby was studying to become an                waited patiently for the Lard; and He
and wrong was sometimes his way. But         attorney.                                      inclined to me, and heard my cry. He
he had a way of reaching out to those             Robby came home from college in           also brought me up out of a horrible
whose personalities didn't always fit in     December for Christmas break. At that          pit, out of the miry c/ay, and set my
with the tough guys at school. He            time I noticed a mole on his right             feet upon a rock, and established my
wanted them to feel accepted also and        shoulder. He had moles removed before,         steps. He has put a new song in my
                                             so we were not overly alarmed about            mouth. Praise to our God; many will
he would casually give them a push in
                                             this one. The appointment was made on          see it and fear, and will trust the Lord.
the hall or tell them a joke when            January 3, 2000.                                  He told me right after he was diag-
everyone else was ignoring them. He               The doctor who removed it assured         nosed, that he thought he would get
was special                                  us that it was probably nothing. It just       very sick, and people would think he
    My faith has been tested and the         looked like maybe it had been trau-            would die, but that he wouldn't. He
devil has tried, but I stand firm that God   matized. He even got a second opinion.         said mom don’t worry, I won’t die,
was merciful in Eric’s death.
                                                                                               And the knowledge he's not brings so
God just wants people to think I am dy-       that's what he would have wanted. We           many tears.
ing so they will get their lives right with   also know that will be the only way of           I know that my pain just doesn't
Him. " He believed that with all his          surviving this.                                compare
heart. Though the doctors were telling             Robby taught us more in those 8 ½           To the utter devastation that Mom
us differently, we believed Robby. He         months of his illness, than we had             and Dad share.
said, "Don't worry about what the doc-        learned in a life-time. And when I think         But I miss him so badly, I still can't
tors say, they don't know me, and they        about it, Robby did get the ultimate           believe
don't know what the Lord can do for           healing. He may not have gotten the              Who could have thought I would
me; they don't believe in miracles."          miracle he wanted or we wanted, but he         have to learn how to grieve.
     Three days before we lost him, he                                                         People don't realize that it's hard on
                                              received God's miracle. He was healed
said to me, "Mom, you know the bumper                                                        me too,
sticker, "God is my co-pilot?" I said,        for eternity, not just this lifetime. We are     That I loved him also - in filet, I still
"Yes." He said, "I think it should be         grateful for the time we had with him.         do.
changed to say, 'God is my Pilot, I am        We just miss him so much.                        But always they ask "How are your
just along for the ride'" By this time, he         He told me the day before we lost         Mom and Dad?"
had come to the realization that no           him, that if just one person was saved by        They seem to disregard that I, too,
matter what we want in our lives, and         seeing what he had gone through, that          am sad.
no matter how much faith we have, and         this would have all been worth it. He            They say things to help, like "He
how badly we want it, (because he             humbled me beyond belief His courage           wasn't your child”
wanted to live more than anything) that       and faith still astound me today when I          But he was my brother - and that
God is ultimately in control.                 think about him. He was willing to give        pain isn't mild.
     Until we accept this with all our        his life if that was what God wanted him         A part of our family; his future has
hearts, we will not find that inner peace.    to do. He died with a grace and a peace        gone.
I have to tell you that Robby had a           that astounded all who saw and loved             There's no changing that, yet life still
peace that was truly unbelievable. He         him.                                           goes on.
was never afraid and never complained.             We would like Robby's symbol to be          So I search and I look for answers
     When the doctor told him it would        the Mustang. He had a red '98 Mustang          and reasons.
be just another day or two, he said           GT, and he had a wild zest for life which        But it won't change a thing, no
"Mom, don't worry, everyone has to die.       reminded us of the wild mustang. He            matter how many seasons.
I think God has just changed His plans        lived every minute to the fullest. He was        The simple fact is that my brother is
for me. I think he wants me to help           "in love” with life.                           dead.
everyone from heaven. So that's what               He fought an 8 ½ month battle with          A future without him is what we all
     I'll do." For a young man, 20 years                                                     dread.
                                              cancer. But he never gave up. He taught
of age, and everything in this world to                                                        So I hope that in time, the darkness
live for, that kind of peace had to be        us all in 8 ½ months more than we had          will fade.
heaven-sent. We can think of no other         learned in a lifetime.                           That through my grief journey, some
explanation.                                       He was an inspiration to us. We are       progress is made.
     We have a bench by the mausoleum         trying hard to honor him in death as he          For myself and my family, our lives
where we put him to rest, and one do-         honored us in lift.                            will go on.
nated to our church in Corbin, KY, with                                                        For my parents, they'll always be mi-
the inscription, "God is my Pilot, I'm             Robby's symbol is a                       nus one son,
just along for the ride." We think Robby      red '98 Mustang car.                             But please don't forget me, for I too
would have liked that, and maybe it will                                                     feel pain,
inspire others to put their lives in God's        Richard (6-6-79), son of Richard             That our family will never be normal
hands. Robby showed us that with faith        and Geraldine Price, was killed in an          again.
in the good Lord, we can face even the        auto accident, 12-18-98. The following           There'll always be sadness, my tears
worst of tragedies with grace and             memorials were written by Richard's            are still fresh,
peace.                                        family on the anniversary of his death:          For I love you and miss you, my
     The nurses put his inscription on                                                       brother Rich!
the big bulletin board out in the hall.                  "My Brother is Dead!"                 Your brother, Jamie
They later told me they left it there for                                                      Written by Dani Elwood
over a month. They loved it, and it                My brother is dead! So how do I             TCF Queensland
inspired them. They were all so good to
                                              feel? Mostly in shock - how can this be
Robby. We will be forever grateful to all                                                          In Loving Memory of a Dear
of them.                                      real? So healthy - but suddenly his life               Grandson and Nephew
     My husband and I still strive for        was snuffed out.
that inner peace today. We've had so               "What do you mean 'he's dead?'             Greatly missed along life's way Al-
many questions; we have literally worn        What's all this about?" I see my parents       ways remembered every day.
out our Pastor. To try to go on living        in pain - it's too hard to bear.                No longer here our lives to share,
without your child is not normal or                All I can say is "I'll be there.” But      But in our hearts he is always there.
natural. It's a pain that cannot be put       that doesn't help them, they just want          We hold you close within our hearts,
into words. But we struggle to find that      him here.                                       And there you will remain
peace that Robby had found. We know
  To walk with us throughout our lives            Love,                                        cember pot-luck dinner for our
  Until we meet again.                             Uncle Joe, Aunt Audrey and family           Conyers support group.
  There will always be an ache in our                                                            We've both been active with the
hearts                                                           Memories                      Mentor Program in the middle school
  That years won't take away.                     If we could have a lifetime wish,            for the last five years, but opted out for
  We'll always miss and love you.                 A dream that would come true,                this school year. Last year, my as-
Richard,                                          We'd pray to God with all our hearts,        signee wound up in Boot Camp before
  Each and every day.                             For yesterday and you.                       I could even meet him, and Bill's sort
                                                  A thousand words can't bring you back        of wandered off and never attended
 Submitted with love by Uncle Jim and                                                          many of the outings.
                                                  We know, because we've tried..
Grandmother, Annie Snook.                                                                         I was employed for part of the year
                                                  Neither will a thousand tears,               as a Census Enumerator. I really
  In Memory of                                    We know because we've cried..                enjoyed the work and was part of a
  Richard Price                                   You left behind our broken hearts            great Team that made Rockdale
  Stirling Perham                                 And happy memories too...                    County the highest return-area in
  Dale Howse                                      But we never wanted memories,                Georgia.
                                                  We only wanted you.                             In the Brentwood neighborhood,
          The Missing Graduates                              Love,                             our homeowners' association has
                                                             Uncle Roy, Aunt Marie,            resumed the management of the
  Parents' happy faces all around us,                        Lori, Mike, Colin and Brett       community. The company we'd hired
with a glow from within,                                                                       didn't work out and, in fact, it seems to
  Pomp and Circumstance is playing,               We never lose the ones we love,              have      lost    valuable     documents
now the program will begin.                       For even though they're gone,                belonging to the community. Bill stays
  The graduates are all lined up, they            Within the hearts of those who care,         active on a part time basis as issues
are coming down the aisle.                        Their memory lingers on.                     arise and I am still secretary for the
  Some have serious faces, yet some               Your memory is our keepsake,                 association, publish the Directory
have a little smile.                              With which we'll never part,                 each December, and plan the
  We look down the aisle, hoping for              God has you in His keeping;                  neighborhood-wide garage sale; most
your faces to come into sight.                    We have you in our hearts.                   years in the spring.
  This is your class, it was to be your           Love,                                             Bill and I are VERY thankful for
graduation night.                                 Uncle Max, Annette,                          many things in our lives. Most of all,
  All of the graduates pass by, none of           Valerie and Vanessa                          we are thankful for good .friends who
them are you.                                                                                  gather close to us. There are memories
  A tug of our heartstrings tells us you          Richard's symbols are                        to be shared and there are good times
are not here, your deaths are true.            a car, wrench and stereo.                       ahead for us and for our friends. For
  God called you home, we wanted you                                                           that, we are thankful. The chair at the
here in such a bad way.                                                                        dinner table is still empty, the soul still
  Looking into your classmates' faces,                                                         aches, but the heart remembers. For
do they recall you, missing this day?             Billy (6-23-81), the only child of Bill      that, we are thankful.
  Memories, sweet memories now fill            and Teal Snapp, died from accidental
our minds and hearts.                          carbon monoxide poisoning 2-25-96.              Billy's symbol is a bowling pin.
  There will be no golden tassel this
day. for our sweethearts,                          In their Christmas letter to family and       Burl and Linda Hogge's son, Kevin
  But the call is oh, so happy... this isn't   friends, Teal wrote of their many activities:   (1973), was killed in an accident, 7-
the time to be blue.                                                                           29-00. Linda tells us about Kevin:
  We should go now, and shake a hand               Bill and I continue to be active in two
and get a hug or two.                          support groups for bereaved parents, as             My oldest son, Kevin, was killed on
  Submitted by:                                well as keeping in touch with other, similar    Saturday, July 29, 2000, in an automo-
  The Price, Perham and                        organizations. We've been involved in a         bile accident. He lived around Stan-
  Howse Families                               planning committee trying to revitalize our     ford and Hustonville, and worked at
                                               chapter of The Compassionate Friends,           Ephrine McDowell Hospital in Dan-
  In Loving Memory of our Nephew
                                               with very satisfying results. Attendance has    ville in the MRI Department. He was
                and Cousin
                                               increased three-fold because of paying          married, but didn't have any children.
  Two years have passed since God
                                               attention to the needs of the newly                I had gone to Danville the Wednes-
called you away,
                                               bereaved and increasing involvement of          day before to have lunch with him be-
  But we still miss you each and every
                                               those who've been traveling this road for       cause he was leaving Saturday to help
                                               awhile. In addition to two monthly              take the youth of his Church (Huston-
  To hear your voice, and see your
                                               meetings, Bill is helping to plan the World-    ville Baptist) to camp for the week. I
smile To sit with you and chat a while
                                               Wide Children's Memorial Service at             talked to him on the phone Friday
  To be together in the same old way,
                                               Centennial Olympic Park, and I am               night just to say "Bye and I love you."
  Would be our greatest wish today.
                                               helping with the Holiday Candle-Lighting        He was going to leave about 10:00
  So please God, take a message
                                               at the                                          AM from the church.
  To our precious nephew up above,
                                                                                                 He had a few errands to do before
Tell him we miss him terribly, and give            TCF chapter. We're also hosting a De
                                                                                               he left. It was raining, and he had the
him all our love.
accident before he reached the church.         Your life was lived far away from            We simply traded places standing at
He was alone in the car and didn't have      mine                                         the grave.
a van of children with him and I'm             And we knew not of each other.               I became the receiver of his healthy
                                               How strange it is, now you see             liver
thankful for that. What began as an or-                                                     He became the angel of the
dinary day became a day that changed           Because I feel so very close to you.       Almighty Giver
our lives forever.                             You gave me a very precious gift             Paul died, I live; now we are a pair
  Until I saw the article about Rose-          In a moment when your path crossed           Something about this still doesn't
mary Smith's book in the newspaper, I        mine.                                        seem fair.
had not talked to any other parents at         We never met in person, our eyes             Most graciously, this precious gift
length that had lost children. Rosemary      never met                                      His family did share.
gave me a phone number of a mother in          I didn't know your favorite food, fa-
Ashland that lost her son a month after I    vorite color, or favorite season.             He: Paul Travis Hickey
lost Kevin. I am thankful that I have two      All I know is of your unselfish spirit      Jan. I, 1973 - Nov. 21, 1999
sons here in Morehead; both students at      And how that changed my life.
                                               You see, angel, my father lives today I     Me: Frances Cashwell Kennedy
MSU. They are a blessing to us.
                                             hear his voice on the other line              Aug. 11, 1937 - New Birthday Nov.
                                               I feel his warm, strong hug.               22, 1999
  Betty Mastley's son, Chris (9-2-67),
                                               You gave him a gift- the gift of life;                Paul's symbol is a white
died in an automobile accident 12-5-94.
                                               He's here because of you.                         butterfly.
Betty tells of her garden in memory of
Chris:                                         You left us, angel, one sorrowful day
                                               Your family wept and grieved                 Pat Sharp's son, Lyle (7-17-63),
                                                                                          died from Leukemia 2-29-00. Pat
   I've created a garden for our son,          And somewhere down that hospital
                                                                                          shares her feelings about The Com-
Chris, that has flowers blooming at          hall                                         passionate Friends:
special times in his life, birthday,           My family wept in joy.
graduation, grass that sings in the wind       Dear angel, your Life was taken              Compassionate Friends have meant
like his guitar. I have a plaque with one      So that another's may go on.               so much to me, especially 2 people
of his sayings at the entrance and             They say everything happens for a          who are also a part of my church
                                             reason                                       family, Jolene Hutchison and DeeDee
boulders that represent his life on earth                                                 Ransdall.
and his life in the here-after. This has       And indeed, this does hold true,
                                                                                            Lyle's symbol, which I wear every
really been a comfort to me to work on         My dad received your precious heart
                                                                                          day now, is a dolphin jumping
this garden. It helps to do something.         And he'll walk we down the aisle one       through a heart. His heart was so full
                                             day.                                         of love for his family, and so much
  I received a Christmas card from the         Your Mom and Dad will never see            courage for his long fight. And the
Billy and Trish Barton that had a            you marry,                                   dolphin because of his love for the
nighttime winter wildlife scene on the         But they'll feel you in the sun,           ocean.
front. Trish explained the symbolism of        And they'll feel you in the rain.            With the help of God, family and
the card:                                      For your presence is all around us,        friends, I survived this Christmas.
                                             angel                                        Last year I believe Lyle knew he
                                               You shall never be forgotten.              would not see another Christmas. We
  This card reminds me of Michael--                                                       all got together, ate, laughed, and
wildlife and the star is like a promise        You made your family so very proud
                                                                                          cried and held each other close as we
that one day we will be together.              And you kept my family complete.
                                               Hello angel, I know you're up there          He left us to go to his Lord and
   Al and Sandy Hickey's son, Paul (1-1-     smiling,                                     peace on February 29, 2000. July 9,
73), died in an auto accident 11-21-99.        I feel you in the sun, and I feel you in   2000, my Mom, 18 days short of her
The family donated Paul's organs. The        the rain,                                    90th year, left us suddenly to go to
first poem was written by the youngest         You'll never be forgotten                  her Lord and peace and hug my big
daughter of Paul's heart recipient. The        For your life, not just within my dad      ole boy for me.
second was written by Paul's liver             You live within us all.                      May faith, family and friends help
                                                            Anita McEntire                us through the coming days.
                                                          He/Me Together                    Lyle's symbols are a heart
           "Hello Angel"
  Hello angel, I know you're up there          He died, I lived; now we are a pair        with a dolphin jumping
smiling,                                     Something about this just doesn't seem       through It.
  I feel you in the sun, and I feel you in   fair.
the rain.                                      He's not a passenger; he's in my side        Jay Crim (5-23-74) is the son of
                                             Together we fit so nicely, his spirit I      Keith and Becky LaVey and died in
  It's not been that long, you know                                                       his sleep, 1-17-99. Becky tells of
  Since the day your presence left us.       carry with pride.
                                                                                          what The Compassionate Friends
  I didn't know you then, not even your                                                   group in Lexington have meant to
sweet name.                                    What I lacked, he had; what he had,
                                             he gave
   I was so fortunate to become involved     So please remember that we are not           colon where the nerve endings had
with TCF soon after Jay passed away. I       alone, for God cares, and will continue      not developed and he couldn't have
don't know what shape I would be in          to bring us together if we let Him.          bowel movements. This disease,
now, without going. I feel sure I have                                                    called Hurshpruns, was causing his
gotten better "quicker." It is so healthy      Jay's symbol is a Boxer.                   whole system to shut down from
to meet with other bereaved parents                                                       infection. He needed surgery and
once a month and talk about your child.         Joseph and Enola Gaye                     quickly. Surgery consisted of pulling
And your pain. TCF is one of the few         Ryan's son Joey (11-6-74), was               the bowel to the outside and
places (and your picnic) that we can.        accidentally shot by a friend, 8-22-86.      attaching the colon to the stomach so
Thank God other bereaved parents still       Enola Gaye, with special thanks to Beth      that it might grow more nerve tissue.
want to know about Jay, and don't            Ann Ross, wrote the following about          Joey would have a colostomy if he
cringe or remain silent when I bring up      God's perfect miracle:                       were to survive. Overwhelmed with
his name and his life. When I am with                                                     the diagnosis, I was unsure, scared
other bereaved parents, I can relax and         I always wanted to have children per-     and completely dumb founded. I
feel "normal" (our new normal), and          fect and precious, and on November 6,        didn't want him to suffer, but most of
somehow, by sharing our stories with         1974, my family would become com-            all; I didn't want him to die.
others, it lessens our pain. As you put it   plete. My wonderful little girl born             The next few years were
so well, Young Jim has pushed you into       November 11, 1972, is now joined by          extremely difficult. By the time Joey
doing many things for other bereaved         her precious 9-lb. 1 oz. baby brother. It    was one and a half years old, he had
parents. After I thought about this, I       was perfect, my family was complete.         undergone five surgeries to correct
knew Jay had been doing the same thing          We believed we were blessed with two      the problem. When he was two years
with me. Every time I've reached out to      perfect babies. The first week we were       old, we were told they could reverse
another bereaved family, I had been          home, I noticed that something was           his colostomy; he would be normal.
feeling like I had been doing something      wrong. Joey became listless and seemed       We hesitated. I had stayed with him
"for Jay." Now, after pondering on your      to sleep a lot. We had to wake him up to     twenty-four hours a day through
words, I believe he has been pushing me      get him to eat. He started spitting up his   every admittance to the hospital.
to do those things. What comfort this        food which had a green color. His bowel      Already in the hospital for one year
brings me, which is yet another sign         movements didn't seem to be quite right      of his two year life, we had another
that not only is Jay still alive and well,   and he wasn't eating well. I felt that       surgery to go through. With all of
but he still can push his mom into doing     something was wrong, but was unsure          this time to think, I reconfirmed my
what he wants me to do. Jay is a strong      what it was. We waited that week and         peace with God and decided that he
willed child.                                returned to the hospital to have him         must have great plans for Joey since
   I don't have the answers as to "Why?"     checked. He was just two weeks old and       He had brought us through all of the
all of our children have passed away,        they wanted to admit him for an              pain and suffering Joey had to
but I do know this much, God won't let       infection. They said that he possibly        endure. Whenever we were in the
you go through this by yourself I urge       ingested some bacteria during birth.         hospital, I tried to relieve his pain by
all the families who receive Lamenta-           Joey was in the hospital for one week     reading or playing with him. It's hard
tions to join TCF or another support         when the doctors told us that his blood      to watch your child suffer and not be
group for bereaved parents. If you don't     count was dropping and they couldn't         able to stop the pain. You wish it was
have one in your area, start one! At the                                                  you instead of them. I believe that
very least, call another bereaved parent     explain why. For no apparent cause, he       this made Joey and me much closer
quite often and share your child and         was slowly dying. Only three weeks old       than most parents could ever be. I
your pain.                                   and I was losing my precious baby.           could tell when Joey was in pain and
    Remember Dinah, at your last picnic,        They took Joey to emergency and           he never had to say a word.
we talked about "adopting" a new par-        transferred him by ambulance to the              My      love    for    him     grew
ent that has come for the first time. At     Riley Children's Hospital where we met       tremendously, but much different
your request, I talked to and became         a large staff of doctors and nurses who      than for my little girl. It's hard to
friends with another parent. She and I       were concerned that Joey was so very         explain, but I never let him out of my
have corresponded its past year by           sick. They started running all kinds of      sight. He couldn't go anywhere by
phone, letters and cards. I know she has     tests to see if they could pin-point the     himself As he grew and wanted to
helped me as much as I have helped           problem and correct it before it took his    stay the night with his friends, I
her.                                         life... and all I could do was wait.         couldn't let him and he was all right
     Thank you for sharing yourself and         I kept telling myself that he was going   with that. I didn't know it at the time,
 Young Jim with us. You are a shining        to be all right, that the infection would    but he was teaching me something
 example of a bereaved parent who can        disappear as quickly as it had appeared.     that I never had learned before... he
 be better. We have such a struggle to       I knew that my prayers were going to be      taught me patience and endurance.
 work through our pain, but we do have       answered. God had given me this                  Joey was different than most kids.
 a choice. We can get better or stay in      perfect child. He couldn't take him away     All I had to do was ask him to do
 the valley of the shadow of death and       after only three weeks. Our bond was         something and he would do it. I never
 despair. You have chosen life and           strong and God wouldn't break it. I          had to spank him. He was so lovable
 peace.                                      think that's why it was so hard for me to    and spent a lot of time with me. By
     You, Rosemary Smith, and my many        accept what the doctor told me two           the time he was four, he would try to
 friends from the Bluegrass Chapter of       hours after the examination started.         help with the housework. We would
 TCF give me strength to keep on living.     They said that Joey had a disease in his     sit and talk,
watch television, or play games. I always    other remarkable qualities. He would               Then the ambulance was there. I
thought that he would grow out of            carry on a conversation with an adult         helped the EMT cut off his gray T-
wanting to be with me, but he didn't.        like an adult. He loved talking to people     shirt and green shorts. He gasped
There was never a day that went by that      about things kids his age wouldn't            twice more for air and they lost his
he didn't give me a big hug and kiss and     normally think of All through his days        pulse. I rode in the ambulance with
tell me that he loved me. He was so          with me, I thought he would do remark-        him to the hospital. As I watched them
joyful and easy to please. He never          able things in the church or with the         work on him, blood was pouring on
                                                                                           the floor like a glass of water running
complained about anything and was very       young people. God was going to use him        over. When we, arrived at the
thankful for anything that he received       in a special way.                             hospital, they took him into surgery
from anyone at any time in his life, and        On Friday, August 22, 1986, I got up       and left me standing at the door.
he always made a point to let you know.      to go to work like I had for years, but on       When I looked down, there was
    I hope you don't think that I turned     that morning, it seemed like I was glued      blood on my knees, and blood covered
him into a sissy because I didn't. As he     to the kitchen chair. I didn't go to work     my hands. I couldn't stop shaking. I
grew, he was all boy. He loved football,     and I wondered why I felt this way.           was alone. A nurse asked me to sign
baseball, bike riding, wrestling around      When the kids got up, they wanted to          some paperwork; like I could do that
with other boys, and most of all, fishing.   know why I wasn't at work, but they           the way I was shaking. I got mad at
He was a tough kid. I remember one           were happy I was home with them. We           her for being so rude. She could have
time, another boy hit him in the head        spent most of the day together and Joey       waited until my family got there to
with a rock and he didn't cry, but his       asked if he could go to Dwight's house        help me. I wanted to punch her.
sister did. Another time when he and         to get his .fishing pole. He was gone            I was hurt, sad, and mad at the
another boy were fighting over a kite        about thirty minutes, so I sent his sister    world. Then I remembered the Bible
string and the other boy pulled the string   to get him. We were going to my sister's      said that only God could take the sting
through Joey's hand and cut four of his      about 1:00 PM I heard my daughter             out of death. When the doctor came
                                                                                           and told us that he couldn't save Joey,
fingers, and he didn't tell us until they    screaming. I knew it was she because          it really hit home. My husband and I
became infected. I told him to tell me       she would get really excited if anything      were allowed to see him after surgery.
when he got hurt so I could take care of     at all happened to Joey. I wondered to        They had cut him across his chest to
it and he said he didn't want to worry       myself what had happened to Joey this         work on his lungs and heart. I knew I
me, but I was always worried about him.      time. She came running through the            had to touch him all over because I
    He was sick throughout most of his       back gate and through the sliding glass       would never be able to again.
life. When he was six, we went for his       door. She was white... shaking all over          When we left the hospital in a state
check-up and the doctor told us that he      and crying hard. I had to shake her and       of shock, we ran into Joey's best
had developed hernias in his colon and       I yelled "what happened!" She said,           friend... yes, the one who shot him.
they had to be removed. So we went           "Joey has been shot by Dwight!" We ran        They were just leaving the police
through another surgery, but Joey didn't     back down the alley to the edge of the        station where Dwight had to make a
complain. It was very unusual to hear        yard. That is where I found the most          statement as to what happened. We
him complain about what bothered him.        horrible nightmare anybody could see. I       stopped and I talked to Dwight and
After so many times of being in the          screamed "NO!" and started shaking all        told him that I loved him and that Joey
hospital, Joey would have bad dreams so      over. My baby was lying on the ground         had died, but I didn't blame him.
I told him to sleep with his Bible and it    in a pool of blood. His face and body             Going through the funeral and
                                                                                           burial with no one to talk to, created a
would stop the bad dreams and let the        was splattered with blood. I fell to my       major void in my heart that quickly
good ones through. He told all of his        knees. I told him I loved him, I was          filled with hate for such a loss. A
friends about this and that it worked for    there and that Jesus was there with him,      child's death devastates your whole
him.                                         not to be afraid.                             being. I think God sends us children
    He was a very confident child except         Then I heard the boys behind me...        as angels to bless us and not burden
for writing. When he tried to write, his     one was Dwight. I don't remember get-         us. I wanted to talk to my husband and
hands would shake and his letters were       ting up, but when I came to my senses, I      family about Joey, but nobody wanted
all wiggly and that bothered him. He         was shaking Dwight and yelling at him,        to talk. I wanted to yell at them and
liked reading, history and school pro-       "You know better... you know not to play      say "Joey was here. He was part of all
jects. He excelled in other things such as   with guns... all of you knew better than      of our lives." But it seemed like they
hunting, fishing, animals, nature and        to play with that gun." Dwight kept           wanted to act like he never existed.
Bible study. When he went to Bible           saying "it was broke, it was broke," as if        Life is so fragile; like the wind, only
camp, he received three trophies for         to say there was no way it could have         here for a moment and then we move
memorizing Bible verses.                     gone off... but it did. Dwight kept saying    to a different place and time. After
   I took the kids to church and Sunday      he didn't mean it. I turned back to Joey      years of hate, my hate for people has
school all the time. Joey loved it and the   and knelt down. I couldn't cry. I felt like   gone. I think it's because I have two
                                                                                           grandchildren. Taylor Brooke, a girl
people, even at eleven years of age, he      I was going to explode. His eyes were
                                                                                           now five years old, and Cody Joseph,
would still go up to people he knew,         half closed, covered by a gray film. I        a boy now three years old. Cody
would hug them and tell them that he         pulled up his shirt and found the hole in     reminds me a lot of Joey because he
loved them. This seemed unusual for a        his chest. The hole was covered by a          tells me every time he sees me that he
boy of his age, but our church family        ball of flesh that would push in and out      loves me. I thank
really loved him for it, for that and        as he gasped for air.
    God every day for these precious ba-            "There isn't a whole lot he didn't          Chad often surprised Emilie Os-
bies. He gave me two to replace my             do,” said Brian Johnston, one of his         trander with his innocence. Once, a
greatest loss.    Inscribed on Joey's          longtime       friends.     "The      term   professor gave him a take-home exam
head-stone is the simple phrase, "Joey,        'Renaissance man' pops into my head.         with the admonition not to take more
our precious pretty boy, will always be        He liked to read. He liked to write. He      than a half-hour. Eatherly timed
our eternal light. Just trust in our savior,   kept himself very busy. "                    himself and didn't complete the exam.
Jesus Christ, He will give you eternal              Johnston said Eatherly was an               Some of Easterly's lust for life
life.”                                         artistic type who liked all sorts of music   came across in his personality and
                                               and movies. He also enjoyed mountain         strange sense of humor. He called rain
Joey's symbol is an angel.                     biking and ran cross-country for             "liquid sunshine," wore jeans and
                                               Christian Brothers High School. "He          Allman Brothers T-shirts on dates and
                                               was in the best shape, by far, of any of     spoke passionately about the blues and
    Chad (3-4-78), son of Jim and Cheryl       us,” Johnston said.                          his hometown of Memphis.
Eatlterly, died from undetermined                   Wes Milligan, president of the Pi
causes, 3-5-99. Chad was an exceptional        Kappa Alpha fraternity chapter said              In The Maneater, the student
young man which is demonstrated by the         Eatherly had a favorite quote that he        newspaper, Ivan Golden wrote:
following articles written by Blake            often repeated: "Build your hopes on             "The world won't be as good
Fontenay, a writer for The Commercial          things eternal, for they are the things      without him," junior Emilie Ostrander
Appeal:                                        that will never break"                       said. Ostrander dated Eatherly from
                                                                                            November 1996 until July 1997, and
    Charles "Chad" Wilson Eatherly was             Andy Davis,           they remained close friends afterward,
a young man who dared to be different.         wrote this article:                              "He was fabulous," she said. "He
                                                                                            was so different, from everyone else,
    Friends and family said the 21-year-            MU junior Charles Wilson "Chad"         and it didn't bother him,
old Memphis resident didn't worry about        Eatherly was filled with a restless en-          David Cassat, a close friend of
peer pressure while lecturing on the           ergy, whether volunteering at the St.        Eatherly, said Eatherly was committed
University of Missouri campus about the        Francis House, the MKT Park Patrol or        to his fraternity and to his friends. "He
dangers of alcohol and drugs.                  with the campus alcohol awareness            was a very loyal friend, a person who
    He wasn't afraid to show affection to-     program.                                     stayed true to his convictions.”
ward family members, even at an age                 He never sought recognition, but            Speaking of the "Unsung Hero
when that wasn't considered cool.                                                           Award," "Chad was the ultimate
                                               people noticed. The "Unsung Hero"            person to win this award," said Kim
    And he didn't feel awkward about ex-            Award, which he was to receive the
pressing his appreciation for the simple                                                    Dude, assistant director of the
                                               night after his death, honors students       Wellness Resource Center who
things in life, like the beauty of a flower    who work "behind the scenes" to help         nominated Eatherly for the award,
or a rain shower.                              others.                                      "He was one of the finest human
    Eatherly died one day after his 21st            "He had an incredible 'impact on        beings I have ever known.”
birthday and one day before he was to be       other students, “said Assistant Wellness         Despite                     Eatherly's
honored for his uncommon flair for             Resource Director Kim Dude, who              accomplishments, Milligan said he
making a difference in people's lives          nominated Eatherly for the award. "He        remained humble. As proof, Milligan
    Eatherly, a University of Missouri         was very articulate, and he helped lit-      said Eatherly told his parents he was
junior, was due to receive one of the          erally hundreds of his peers make better     receiving an award but didn't tell them
University's "Unsung Heroes" awards at                                                      what it was.
                                               choices."                                        Eatherly's parents came to
a banquet Saturday night.                           Eatherly worked for more than two
    After Eatherly's death from an unde-                                                    Columbia to see their son receive the
                                               years on the Alcohol and Drug Aware-         award. When they arrived, though,
termined type of heart failure Friday          ness and Prevention Team and made
afternoon, his brothers in the Pi Kappa                                                     they were notified of their son's death.
                                               presentations about drinking responsi-
Alpha fraternity accepted the award on         bly to Greek houses and residence halls.        Chandler Gregg, a friend of Chad's
his behalf                                                                                  wrote this letter to Chad's family:
                                                    His generous spirit extended to
    "He was just a prince of a guy," said      more informal settings as well, said             I know the past several months
Mike Speltz, Eatherly's uncle. "He was         Eatherly's fraternity brothers at Pi         have been extremely trying times for
the type of guy that if you'd give him a       Kappa Alpha.                                 your family. Chad was such a
stick of gum, he'd thank you 14 times."             "If there's anyone that exemplifies     wonderful individual. He left a
    A journalism major who planned to          what a Greek should be, it was Chad,"        positive imprint on the lives of each of
return to Memphis after graduation as                                                       us who knew him.
                                               said Wes Milligan, president of the fra-         School is back in session, and
either a writer or a teacher, Eatherly had     ternity. "He was the one that had the
been involved with the University's                                                         things are picking back up at the Pike
                                               values that kept the house together.         house. To say the least, though, things
alcohol awareness program for about            Everyone saw him as a mentor. "
two years.                                                                                  just aren't the same without Chad
                                                    A journalism major, Eatherly talked     around.
    He also worked as a volunteer for St.      about either working as a reporter or            One of Chad's favorite writers was
Francis House (a Columbia, MO,                 going back to Memphis, TN, to teach at       Henry David Thoreau, And I think
homeless shelter) and helped maintain          Christian Brothers High School, his          Thoreau summed up the success of
recreational trails at a local park            alma matter.                                 Chad's life in the following quote:
    "If you advance confidently in the          she might bring home to eat supper,          and ate lunch with us. But, she was so
direction of your own dreams and have           spend the night, or even stay as an "un-     careful, only eating one piece offish so
endeavored to live the life that you have       official foster child!"                      her stomach wouldn't stick out in her
imagined, you will meet with a success              One day after school, (around 3rd        dress! After we had lunch, she had to
unexpected in common hour."                     grade), I was going down the hall past       return to the Brights to pick up her
    Chad lived out his own dreams. He           her room and saw her stuffing things         dress for the final fitting. It was just
was always ready to stand up for another        into a brown paper sack. I stopped and       right!
and his life was beautiful and happy            asked what she was doing She said,               She returned to our office so happy
because of this. A story I've recently          "Mom, there’s a girl at school whose         she showed me a crocheted cross that
heard about Thoreau makes me think              mom died and she lives with her father.      she had seen the first time we had
about the type of person Chad was.              He doesn't know how to fix her hair or       gone over to the Bright's with her
Thoreau, disgusted with the gov-                anything, and she wears the same outfit      dress. It had been laying on the coffee
                                                almost every day." Leticia was taking        table and Leticia had commented to
ernmental oppression of Native Ameri-
                                                her clothes, hair ribbons, combs, etc.       me how she had remembered my mom
cans, refused to pay taxes until the                And was going to fix her hair for        having a bookmark just like it. (My
government quit stealing all the Indians'       her the next day. And so that was how        mom had passed away in 1989) When
land. He was then thrown in jail.               she was until the day she died.              she had gone back to the Brights, they
    His friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson,                Leticia was killed in a car accident     had given her the cross and she asked
visited him in jail. Unable to understand       on April 24, 1999. We lived in               me to please keep it for her. Leticia
    Thoreau's reasoning (He had himself         Brandenburg at the time, which is just       shared with me, another employee,
offered to pay the taxes and he also knew       35 miles south of Louisville. We worked      and her sister, Trelawny, how she and
that Thoreau had the money to pay               and attended church in Louisville and        the Brights (Mrs. Bright has two older
them), Emerson asked him, "What are             made daily trips to Louisville.              daughters who live with her) had been
you doing in there?" Thoreau replied,               However, we had already started          discussing the Bible and the end of
"The real question, my friend, is what          building a new house in Louisville so        time. She was very moved! Later, we
you are doing out there?" This is the type      that we could move as soon as Leticia        found out that Leticia had told the
of person Chad was; always ready to             and her sister, Trelawny both                Brights all about her best friend,
stand up for someone weaker.                    graduated from high school. Trelawny             Jenny, who had died in a car
    We miss seeing him work his magic,          had graduated the year before.               accident on September 15, 1995. So
miss seeing him in action. But, we can              Saturday, April 24, 1999, was to be      they had talked about heaven. They
find solace in the fact that Chad now           Leticia's senior prom. She was so ex-        also said that Leticia had gone into the
resides in a much more glorious place-a         cited!! She had made arrangements for        bathroom and had stayed a long time.
kinder, gentler place where he certainly        everything! I had gone with her and we       They felt sure she had spent some time
fits in.                                        had both agreed on the most beautiful        in prayers. What a comfort!
    Chad's symbol is a Fetish bear.             yellow prom dress.       It just set her         So Leticia was with us at the
                                                bronze-tanned skin off perfectly!! It had    office,    waiting     for her       hair
    David and Sharon Smith's daughter           a slit in the back and she wanted it to      appointment time. She decided to put
Leticia (8-14-81), died in an automobile        hang just right, so she took it to Mrs.      on her makeup there at the office so
accident, 4-24-99.                              Bright (a lady who did alterations for       that when she got home, all she would
    Sharon tells us not only about her          us). Leticia had worked for days on          need to do was slip her dress on. I had
precious daughter, Leticia, but about           sketching out the exact colors she           to head on home so that I could be
                                                wanted her nails and toe nails to be         ready when she arrived and we would
Leticia's best friend, Jenny Sipes (5-8-81)
                                                polished. She had bought new white           be heading to the Galt House for
who died in an automobile accident 9-15-        clog shoes with the toes out and wanted      dinner. Excitement was in the air!!
95.                                             her toes to perfectly match her nails        Leticia made it to the hair salon and
                                                and dress. She was going to polish with      according to the stylist was just
    Leticia Michelle Smith was born on          3 different shades and have rhinestones      radiant and beautiful. She left the
August 14, 1981. She was always a very          on the big toes. A week before prom,         salon for home. Approximately half
active child!!! There was never a dull          she had gone to the hairdresser for a        the way home, on Dixie Highway in
moment when she was around!! She was            "practice run" on her hair... so all was     front of the Thorobred Lounge, a
either into something, saying something         set in place well in advance. She and        driver who had previously been seen
off the wall, or just keeping us in stitches.   her boyfriend, Dennis, had decided not       drinking in the bar, pulled out directly
In fact, over the years, we would all           to rent a limo and asked my husband          in front of her, cutting her off, causing
catch ourselves from time to time saying,       and me to go to dinner with them prior       her to swerve, and she slammed into a
"What would we ever do without                  to going to the prom!                        parked semi in the bars parking lot.
Leticia?" Sometimes now, when I think               So, on that Saturday morning, I had      She died in the ambulance before
back, I wonder if God was trying to             come into Louisville to do some work at      arriving at the hospital. As you well
prepare us in some small way. Who               my office. Leticia also came into Lou-       know, our lives have forever been
knows? Leticia was also a VERY caring           isville to have her nails done and then      changed. We miss her deeply!!
and loving person. She was forever doing        went to Mrs. Brights to pick up her              Leticia's best friend, Jenny Sipes
something nice for someone else or              dress (which needed just a couple more       was born on May 8, 1981, and died in
looking out for someone that was down           touches). After going there, she came        1995. Leticia grieved tremendously for
and out. We never knew who                      by the office bringing lunch for all of us   Jenny,
are still best friends... soul mates. We         I will also send you a copy of a        next second a beautiful rainbow ap-
share so many miraculous, comforting        story that I wrote that is true called the   peared in the sky. I just pulled over
signs from God that the girls are to-       Christmas lights.                            and had a good cry-but a cry of joy
gether and that He has them in His care.         I can tell you this as you will know       I learned about what the rose meant
                                            what I mean. Today was one of those          to Donnie from all the beautiful girls
That is the only reason I have been able    days for no reason I could really feel       that he dated-although he was only 22
to endure another day.                      Donnie around me-just out of the blue I      years old when he died, different girls
    On a positive note, we are in the       was sitting at work and I just got that      he had gone out with and had their
process of adopting a little girl from      overpowering feeling that comes from         first experience with my son, came to
China. We have considered doing this for    nowhere- I just missed him so much and       me one by one and shared that
many years. In fact, the night prior to     could feel the tears start. I just wanted    beautiful special moment with me.
Leticia's accident, she had asked me,       him to come back to me. Then that            Each one cried and said to me how
"Mom, when are we getting our baby?"        feeling of needing to go to the grave and    even though they didn't continue to
And so, here we go! I just wish she were    put some new flowers on it and make it       date my son that he never forgot them
here to enjoy this new little one!          beautiful. I no longer live in the town      and on each one's birthday they
    What a joy it would have been to see    where my son is buried. His grave is         always received a white rose from him
                                            about 45 minutes from here. It's one of      and they each cried and asked me
her with this sweet baby But, I've had      the reasons that I didn't want to move       what they were going to do as they
confirmations from Leticia or from God,     back to my hometown when I returned          would not be receiving that rose on
for Leticia, concerning the baby So, at     from living in Florida for three years. I    their birthdays anymore. What a
least we do have that comfort and hope.     knew that there were too many                special honor I received to have his
    At Leticia and Jenny's high school      memories and I went to the grave             former girlfriends feel that they could
                                            constantly.                                  share that special moment with me. He
graduation, Leticia and Jenny's families         I can't tell you how much I             has been so close to me today..! can
gave each classmate a bookmark with         appreciate all of the newsletters that       really feel him still
Leticia and Jenny's picture and the         you mailed. It makes me really feel part       I am glad that I was able to help you.
following:                                  of your group. Thank you. Even though        Someone shared that information with
                                            it's been 11 years, I still need you.        a grief group meeting that I attended
   Class of,99:
                                            Thank you for the wonderful job you are      one night years ago. It came at the
   Love God                                 doing for others.                            right time as I was getting ready to
   Love Life                                     Two months after Donnie died; I         settle my civil suite I wouldn't have
   Love One Another                         went to visit my mother in Bunnell,          even been able to go back to the
   Love Yourself                            Florida. I was making my bed one             medical board now if I had signed a
   -Romans 8:28                             morning and realized that I was feeling      secret agreement. I would have broken
                                            so happy and so good. So much guilt          it anyway. what are they going to do
   Wishing each one of you a happy and      came across me as I quickly                  come after me for the money and ask
successful future.                          remembered my beautiful son and his          me to repay it?? I would just go to all
   On April 24th in 1999                    laying in his grave. I got down on my        the major newspapers!
                                            knees and asked Donnie to please let me
   God picked a flower
                                            know if it was okay for me to feel happy.    Donnie's symbols are
   The most beautiful kind.                 I asked him for a sign of some sort My
   He went out to the garden and said,                                                   a rainbow and roses.
                                            husband and I went out sightseeing for
   "Hmmm...Let’s see, this one named        the day. Late that afternoon as we were           Alex and Donna Hutchins' son,
   Leticia is just for me.                  driving down the highway, my husband         Troy (2-7-76) died 4-7-00. Donna
   She was yellow in color and most         shook me awake from sleeping next to         writes:
beautiful in sight                          him as he drove. He kept shaking me               I cannot begin to tell you how
   And, He knew when He picked her,         and telling me to look out the front         much I am enjoying your newsletter. I
   He picked right.                         window-he was so excited. As I sat up        can only read a little bit at a time. I
   For this was to please a friend from     and opened my eyes; there in front of        am also going to grief therapy every
long ago,                                   me was a huge double rainbow and my          week. Some times I feel like not going
                                            husband got a picture of it. Then I
   But, this flower was red and her name                                                 back because I feel like no one can
                                            remembered how I had prayed that
was Jenny Rose.                             morning. I knew the rainbow was from         help me; we can sit there and talk all
   Now they are having fun and waiting      Donnie. I had read in his diaries, that I    day, but the fact is when I leave there I
for the day                                 had found in his room shortly after he       still have to face the facts-he's never
   When God picks us to take us on our      died, how the rainbow was a sign to          coming home. I have not begun my
way      -Sarah Greenwell                   Donnie of eternal life and God's love for    journal, I have thought about it, but I
     Keep us in your heart!!!!              us. When my own mother died .from            guess I feel like to see it in words how
                                            lung cancer in                               I feel would be so hard. The first time I
   David and Mary Marsters' son,                 1994, I was driving down a              went to the grave sight and the
Donnie (11-16-66) died 5-20-89 (which       deserted road in Florida, alone in my        temporary marker was there with his
is the same death date as Young Jim).       own thoughts about my mother. I had          name, that was ultimate pain and I
Mary tells of a special sign from Donnie:   just thought to myself, "I wonder if my
                                            mother is with Donnie right now"? The        know you know what I mean. I have a
                                                                                         poem that I want to share with
you and after reading your letters and       Yes, it is time to prioritize. Now to share   "Oh no, this is way bad I just know
talking about symbols, I realized that I     my poem and thank you for listening.          it.”They introduced themselves as heal
have picked angels.                          You wrote that you were having some           cardiologists and that they had done
                                             health problems? I hope you are doing         Of echo of Courtney's heart which
    I also have read a lot of grief books                                                  fount that she had a CHD called
    and one talked about "The Gentle         better.
                                               God Bless!! A fellow traveler, Donna        Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and
Whispers" the day before Mother's Day I                                                    the chance", of her survival were 50 to
was going through a drawer looking                             My Son                      50%. I don't, remember much of what
    for a letter .from my oldest son and       All the things I dreamed                    they said after that except that she
something kept me looking in this drawer     you'd be are all the things you               would have to have, a series of three
                                             are. You once were my little                  surgeries to make the, heart adequate
and when I got to the very bottom there      boy, now my Shinning Star.....
was a Mother's Day card and I opened it                                                    enough to work.
                                                                                               She had her first surgery (the
and it was the card that                       Troy's symbol is an angel.                  Norwood Procedure) on June 30 and
    Troy had sent to me last year, I got                                                   did great. Later that night she
my Mother's Day card after al/l!! Troy         Cheryl Griffiths daughter, Courtney         developed a bleed. They had to go in
was in the Air Force in Tampa, FL, and       (6-7-00) died 7-26-00.                        and open heart back up. They could
was getting out in six weeks when this         I would love to tell you about my           barely get the blood to her fast
happened He was also enrolled in elec-       beautiful little princess. She also has       enough. After the} had her stabilized
tronics with honors. He had been chosen      two big brothers, Clinton (8) and Corey       she started improving a little day by
                                             (6). She was born on June 7 of this year      day. 6 days later I got to hold her. Oh
Senior Airman Of The Quarter because                                                       what a glorious day that was! 9 days
of his honors in school and all of his       at 38 weeks with a loud scream and a          after surgery we got to move out of the
hard work and the effort that he put forth   head full of auburn hair. She weighed 5       PICU and to the regular floor. We
in the Air Force. Yes I am bragging and,     lb. 9 oz. and seemed to be healthy as         stayed there for 13 days before they
yes, he was my pride and joy.                could be. The next day the pediatric          finally let us go home on the 21st. She
    I now live in Chattanooga, but Troy      nurse thought she heard a heart mur-          had to go home on an apnea monitor,
                                             mur. That terrified me but she said not       pulse oximeter, and an NG tube.
was born and raised in Morristown, TN
                                             to worry because almost 90% of all ba-        Medications were lasix, methadone,
and that is where we buried him. I am        bies are born with one and it goes away       and iron supplement.
trying to sell my house and move back to     in a day or so. So the doctor then lis-           When we arrived at home my
Morristown. I lived there for 27 years       tened and heard nothing. By that time I       sisters had put balloons and signs
and I want to be there with my friends       was almost completely relieved and we         everywhere saying "Welcome home
that knew Troy and watched him grow          went home as scheduled the next day.          Courtney". I Dearly love my sisters (I
into the wonderful man that he was.            She was nursing great and seemed            have 3). Anyway, she did fine for 4
    Yes, he also had fights but he was al-   very comfortable. After a week of being       days. She started sweating a lot more
                                             home, she started sweating when she           and was a little more irritable. So I
ways my angel and will always be, the                                                      called her cardiologists at midnight
last thing that I ask God every night is,    nursed and she looked a little blue to me
                                             around her eyes and lips. I called her        and she said that I have to remember
"Please God, hug him for me.” Some                                                         that she could be a typical baby
                                             doctor immediately. He asked if she was
people say that they do not remember in                                                    sometimes also. That kind of made me
                                             nursing OK and of course I said yes
Heaven and that hurts me so because I        because she was. I told him she was           feel like I was a paranoid mom. The
do not want him to forget me. I have no      sweating a little when she did, but other     next morning I noticed she hadn't peed
regrets, we had a wonderful relationship,    than that she ate great. So, he told me to    as much as usual (because I was
he knew how much I loved him and I                                                         weighing her diapers). This concerned
                                             watch her closely and wait for her            me because they said if she doesn't pee
know that he loved me.                       appointment the following week (this          enough the fluid could build up
    I loved the part where you said, "We     was Saturday when I called). Later that       around her heart and make her go
either get bigger or bitter," I am not       day her color improved greatly and we         into congestive heart failure. I also
going to be bitter, I promise. My mother     stopped worrying as much.                     weighed her every day and she had
                                               The following Sunday she started cry-       gained 4 oz. since the day before. I
is having some heart problems and I had
                                             ing really hard, like something hurt, I       also told them that she was breathing
told my therapist just a few weeks ago       picked her up to console her and she
that I wonder who will be next and if I                                                    a little heavier than usual. So again I
                                             stopped crying and turned totally blue. I     called at 8:00 am. She had a cardiolo-
would be able to handle another death        grabbed her and gave her CPR which            gists appointment at 2:15 that same
this year. But I am no longer afraid of      brought her breath back in short ragged       day, so she told me not too worry too
death because I know that I will get to be   breaths. We ran her to the hospital           much and just bring her in as sched-
with my love. I think I made a little        (which thank God is only two minutes          uled. My mother-in-law was taking us
progress today. I went on an interview at    away) and there they called Pegasus           so we stopped to get gas and Courtney
the bank for a teller’s position. I have     (helicopter) to transport her to UVA.         started breathing even harder. I asked
                                             When she got there, they did an echo of       her to run back to the house to get
been an assistant manager for the last
                                             her heart. We sat and waited in agony         Courtney's oxygen tank. I put it on her
two years and I no longer want to work       for three hours before hearing a peep.        and it seemed to not help at all so I
sixty plus hours every week, I want to       Then we saw two stern-looking doctors         asked her to stop by her regular
have more and more time with my family.      asking for us. My first impression was        doctors office before we started the
long trip to her cardiologist. He then       thrown sideways and sustained a bad          give 100% to an activity even when he
proceeded to tell me to take her to the ER   blow to the head. It was too foggy to        doubted himself or his mission.
to get a better 02 reading on her. I did     take him to the shock trauma by heli-            He had a capacity for compassion
and there everything looked good, but        copter so they had to transport him in       that was unheard of, if hidden behind
she was just laboring to breath. They        an ambulance. It all happened about          his outwardly shy demeanor. He was
                                             11:30 at night and we were awakened          beautifully honest and understanding
asked me to leave the room for awhile                                                     at the same time. Toby was coming
because they wanted to get an IV started.    by police trying to determine if we were
                                             his parents. He was on a ventilator by       into his own, beginning to understand
I asked to go back in with her after about                                                himself and the world that he
15 minutes and they said OK. I stood         the time we saw him. In retrospect, I
                                             don't think there was any hope, but the      inhabited.
there beside her bed with her looking up                                                      But the most relevant was his
                                             doctors tried everything to get him to
at me with those gorgeous blue eyes of       hold on to see how diffuse the brain         intelligence. Success in school or the
hers with my index fingers inside of her                                                  eradication of all comers in the strat-
                                             damage was. He died the next day.
tiny little hands. She gave me a beautiful                                                egy game of their choice, he could
                                                 Toby had a sixteen year old sister       apply it to any situation. This is the
little smile, squeezed my fingers tight,     and a 21 year old brother. They are my
pushed out her arms and stopped                                                           energy and the spirit that I speak of
                                             joys now. I treasure every day with          One could feel it just by being around
breathing. I screamed because I knew         them, as I understand better than I ever     him; he radiated potential. It was so
she was gone right then and there. They      have how precious life can be. They are      powerful in him that to try to put it in
rushed me out of the room and started        both devastated. My son, Chris, wrote a      words would be to do my brother a
CPR. They proceeded to do so for about       remarkable eulogy about Toby - he            great disservice.
an hour to no avail. She died that day in    really captured Toby's essence and               And knowing all of these things, it
the ER on July 26, 2000, at 2: 11 PM         shared just how important Toby was in        is even tougher for me to speak
Exactly 7 weeks after she was born. I        his life. Liz is also struggling hard with   because I know how very truly he
miss her so much and I know I always         the loss. Toby and she were born on the      deserved to live. I know what he could
will.                                        same day exactly two years apart. They       have been capable of, the changes he
     Jamie Harring's son, Toby (11-4-82)     were very close as they grew up, drifted     could have made to the world. It is
died in an auto accident 11-25-99. Jamie     apart      as    Toby     entered    early   when I start hopelessly speculating
tells us about Jamie:                        adolescence, but had become very close       like this that I wish I had something
                                             the past year. She relied heavily on him     charming to say, something that would
                                             for advice on boys and all the new high      put everyone at ease. But charm and
    My son was killed in a car accident                                                   humor and any related sensation are
one year ago today. He was 17 and            school experiences.
                                                 He relied heavily on her for advice      concepts so far beyond my present
growing into an incredible young man.                                                     comprehension that I wouldn't know
                                             on girls and how to dress. They spent a
Needless to say, he is sorely missed. It                                                  where to begin.
                                             lot of time supporting each other. Need-
has also been a time of spiritual growth     less to say, she feels lost now and has          What I can say is that my brother
for me.                                      tried some crazy things, but she sees a      was the best friend I ever had, though
    Although I am trying to work, I have                                                  I fear I never told him this. But I don't
                                             good psychiatrist and we hope she will       think I had to. Sometimes a week
kept to myself lately, and miss the sup-     get through this in tact.
port of others who know the devastating                                                   would pass without a conversation
                                                 I have developed spirituality I never    between us, just because we were so
pain of losing a child.                      imagined. It is what helps keep me
    Toby was a great kid, aren't they all.                                                wrapped up in our respective lives.
                                             going.                                       But the minute that we heard each
He was 17 - a junior in high school. He                                                   others voices, it was like we were still
was very intelligent, and played football        Chris wrote this eulogy and read it at   living across the hall from one
and basketball. He had just fallen in        Toby's memorial service:                     another, and we would talk endlessly.
love, and I was so happy for him, as he          "Einstein, at one point later in his     No one will ever relate to me the way
was always experiencing teenage angst        life, ruminated on the enormous and not      he did. We could begin a conversation
over one thing or another. In fact, he was   fully understood amount of energy            by discussing the Red Sox or Orioles'
driving home alone on Thanksgiving           contained within the human brain. In         potential for the upcoming season,
night after visiting with his girlfriend     his mind, death liberated this energy,       shift to talk about computers and
when his car swerved off the road and hit    released the soul from the depths of the     finally end up discussing Russian
a tree. It was a foggy and drizzly night.    mind into the natural world. Where it        military history or Dungeons and
How the accident happened is still           goes or what it is capable of was beyond     Dragons. We connected.
                                             Einstein, and therefore far beyond me.           We knew what it felt like to be
somewhat of a mystery. We live in a very                                                  athletes and outsiders at the same
rural area of Maryland and the roads         But this concept serves as the basis for
                                             my faith in the human spirit and my          time, to be interested in so many
are narrow and curved. Toby was a                                                         different things that finding a place to
                                             confidence in Toby Harring's life
pretty straight arrow. He didn't drink or                                                 fit in was difficult. Even though I have
do drugs his main vice was driving too           My brother was the greatest human        been at college through his high
just. He had many good friends, but he       being I have ever had the privilege of       school career, and I can't speak with
didn't really hang out with the fast crowd                                                any certainty about how he was
                                             knowing. His virtues were numerous,          viewed by his fellow students, I have
or the partying football players. I think    and to list them specifically would
sometimes he felt left out, but he just                                                   to believe that everyone that knew him
                                             require unlimited space. He had un-          was able to find something, no matter
wasn't like them. Apparently he was          surpassed physical prowess, able to          how minute, in common with Toby.
   Now all I can do is make an effort to     warrior who has gone                          As a tear runs down her face,
perpetuate Toby in the only form avail-      on to face unchartered                        Not from sadness but from love.
able: as a memory. I beg everyone here                                                                 By: Billie Jo Abney
                                             territories before me.
to take one lesson or factoid or anything
that Toby taught you and attach his                                                        It's been six months today,
                                                                                           Since God called you away.
name to it. For me, there are millions.         Kenneth and Carla Smith's daughter,        The pain is still fresh in all of our
Whether it was explaining an academic        Kassie (11-14-91) died as a result of         hearts,
concept, opening your mind to                being struck by an ATV 11-12-99. The          Wondering if the healing will ever,
something you never would have               family shares poems:                          start.
otherwise experienced, teaching you a           Our baby girl,                             I loved you like you were my own,
shortcut in a video game or how to exe-         The center of our world.                   But your time was short, now you sit
cute the perfect sleeper hold, Toby had a       It's hard to believe a year has passed,    on the throne.
wealth of information that he was willing       Living without you fills our hearts with   I was there when you were born and
to distribute. And if we all do this, 20        Grief and pain, even though we know        watched you grow,
years from now when we use a little bit         Our loss is Heaven's gain.                 What you could have accomplish, we'll
of Toby's patented cunning to get our           Not A day goes by,                         never know.
                                                                                           There are so many things I wanted to
way or answer a random trivia question,         We don't ask ourselves "why?"              say
we can smile in at ourselves and know           Why you had to go,                         I never took the time, now it's too late.
that he is not forgotten.                       I guess we'll never know.                  I always depended on you to do the
   Toby has left me alone to experience         HAPPY BIRTHDAY KASSI                       things I couldn't do.
the most anticipated joys in my life. I                        By: Carla Smith             Be J.D. 's rock, help him through the
took for granted his presence when the       (In the Clay City Times the week of           day,
Star Wars sequels eventually come out,       Kassie's Birthday)                            Hold his hand so he won't be afraid
when the Red Sox win the World Series,                                                     His school is a big place for such
or when the future James Bond films             God Looked around his garden and           small child,
premiere. It was this mode of thinking       found an empty space.                         But I trusted him with you,
that drove me into the deepest pit of           He looked upon the earth and saw           So I could work for awhile.
                                             Kassie's beautiful face.                      Small things I miss,
despair as I drove home from the hos-                                                      Your hug, your kiss,
pital on Friday. As I lore my insides to        He put his arms around her and took
                                             her to rest.                                  No more arms around my waist,
pieces, I looked up to the sky and saw a                                                   No "Aunt Sheila, will you take me
large and suspended bolt of lightening,         God's garden must be beautiful be-
                                                                                           home today?"
holding himself In the sky over our house    cause He only takes the best.
                                                                                           J.D. has so many questions,
in Sparks. And I dragged myself outside         It broke my heart to lose her but she      But I don't have any answers,
                                             didn't go alone.                              I try to find them in nightly prayers.
Saturday morning and sat under one of           For my heart went with her the day
the most beautiful skies I have ever                                                       Kassie was my cousin, Mom,
                                                God called her home.                       And my best friend too.
witnessed. One singular cloud moved                           By: Leatha Smith
across the field of blue, taking his time                                                  But now she is gone,
                                                (In the Clay City Times the week of        What am I to do?
even when the wind tried 10 keep him
                                                Kassie's Birthday)                         If Kassie is an angel Mom,
moving. I know my brother's brain                                                          Way above the clouds,
power, and therefore the force of his                      God's Little Angel              What holds her up there and
spirit. If there is anything to what         The Face of an Angel is all that is here      Keeps her from falling on the ground?
Einstein     said,    then   these     few   One tiny beautiful freckle, equals one        I remember when we used to run a,
manipulations of nature are easily within    terrified tear.                               play,
Toby's reach. These phenomena drove          So young and innocent                         She was the coolest, he'd always say.
me to the teaching of another                Not ready to leave, but has to go             The most fun we ever had
philosopher, one that had helped shape       She wants to come back,                       Was when we argued about our Smiths
our lives and was one of the many bonds      But God says no                               Brother Dad's.
between us. I can express it best in a       Leaving life is a scary thought,              Those days are gone,
singular truism: The Force is his ally,      But I guess it's something that can't         But our memories are strong
                                             Be fought                                     I could go on and on,
and a powerful ally it is. "                                                               About the peoples lives you touched,
   I have enjoyed reading of other chil-     A mother, and father, granny, and
                                             sisters.                                      The times you spent
dren's symbols, and think that I will once                                                 That mean so much
again be able to take a group portrait of    A meaningful life with so much ahead
                                             Suddenly comes to a tragic end                For now, your wrapped in Jesus arms,
my children at Thanksgiving by                                                             But you'll be forever in our hearts.
                                             An angel was what she was meant to be
including a basketball to represent Toby.    Now just think of all she can see                         By: Sheila Smith
Toby was an athlete, a scholar and was       Looking over us all
intrigued with Medieval times, historical                                                  Kassie's symbols are angels and
                                             Saying I LOVE YOU in her own special          butterflies.
battles, and anything to do with "Star       way.
Wars" so his symbols will be a               We cry both night and day,
basketball and a sword. I like to think of   God's little angel watches from above
him as the fearless
    David and Helen Gardener's son, Curt         Ben's symbols are a                           Rebecca's symbol is a
 (10-16-76), died 11-20-95. Helen             feather and a cow.                            hummingbird.
    Thank you for the card. It arrived            Christy Caldwell's daughter, Rebecca
 exactly on the date.                          (6-29-75), was murdered 9-18-00.               Maureen (7-29-69), Elaine Cra-
    Today was my cut-off date for the          Christy shares:                              ven's daughter, died in an auto acci-
                                                  Thank you so much for your wonderful      dent 11-5-89. Elaine writes about
 year for found money. I was in bad                                                         Rosemary's book:
 shape, health wise all year, but there        packet and caring concern. You are
 were so many who worked on my                 right! No one seems to understand unless        I just finished reading the chapter
                                               they're walking in our shoes.                in Children of the Dome on your
                                                  I have dozens of friends and I stay       Jim. How sad, and yet how
    My Compassionate Friends support
                                               very, very busy, but eventually each night   heartwarming!
 group helped and several church               I have to be alone with my thoughts. That       Your words and the courage you
 members also contributed. One of my           is very painful. People seem to think that   and your husband have shown since
 church friends said that I would never        I should be "over it" after all of it has    your loss of your only son gave me
 get away from the pennies. Guess she is       been "5 ½ months."                           much consolation to face yet another
 right. I took all the found money in and         My other 2 children, Rich who will be     day.
 it was $110.38. The money will go             23 on March 15 and Catherine who will           I cannot even imagine your pain!
 towards buying some needed things for         be 20 on March 11, moved up to               I thought mine and Bill's was
 our church nursery. I will find out later.    Worcester, MA after the funeral because      unbearable with the loss of our
 But now they know how much they have          I was afraid that the murder trial would     daughter, Maureen, but I am blessed
 to spend on this project. I do feel good                                                   in that I have three other children
                                               be long and drawn out.
                                                                                            and three grandchildren. They
 about continuing this project and that so        The estranged boyfriend pled guilty       cannot and will never take
 many were interested in helping me with       and was sentenced to life in prison on       Maureen's place in my heart, for
 this project.                                 February 5.                                  each child has their own SPECIAL
                                                  Rebecca was 25. She was the light of      corner in my mind and in my heart.
Curt's symbols are an open                     my life. She had an emergency protective        You were so thoughtful to send the
book and an eternity cross.                    order against him for a prior assault.       box with Lamentations Newsletters
                                               There were 2 warrants for his arrest         you have compiled over the years. I
   Bird Wexler's son, Ben (10-08-93)           signed 6 days before he murdered her.        know they will give me the support I
                                               Due to backlog of 70,000 warrants, at        so need as I continue my journey.
 drowned 08-11-97. Bird shares a poem:                                                         I loved the picture of young Jim,
                                               that time the warrants did not get served
    Things have been very hectic around        or even entered into the computer.           your husband and you. Whoever
 here with me getting sick and mom                Now I am involved in domestic vio-        captured Jim and his love of horses
                                               lence issues and warrant issues.             on the black and white card did a
 getting operated on, but Ben has 2                                                         wonderful drawing, and I know you
 symbols; a feather that is how he lets us        Also I'm on a campaign against how
                                               the media handles "breaking news" be-        treasure it. I also liked the
 know he is still with us, we find them in                                                  Christmas Bag and all the things it
 the strangest places, and a cow.              cause I learned of Rebecca's murder by       symbolized. I have not savored the
          I SAW AN ANGEL                       watching the Louisville news at noon.        herbal tea as yet and will save it for
                                               They stood in front of her apartment and     a time when I am especially in need
   Still I try to understand                   gave her exact address 224 W Magnolia        of soothing. Thank you for all of the
   I'm on what feels to be a mountain          #10 and that police were inside              above.
   I look for him                              investigating the murder of an uni-             I looked and looked for a picture
   And all I see is the blue sky               dentified warrant against her estranged      of my family with Bill and my four
   I reach jar his hand all I hold is a        boyfriend.                                   children and the only one I found
 small stone                                      I am especially worried about my          was when my eldest, Tricia, was
   I ask for I last kiss                       other 2 kids, Rich and Catherine, who        married on August 11, 1984. The
   All I feel is a soft warmth on my           are suffering such depression and loss.      other pictures have just us with a
                                               They do not have the support system they     couple of the children in it. That
 cheeks                                                                                     really upset me. I had no idea
   That is when I realized                     need
                                                  Rich and Catherine would like to talk     because I have album on top of
   I saw an angel                                                                           album of snapshots. Maureen had so
   Eyes so blue, hands so small, hair so       to other siblings:
                                                                                            many snapshot albums she compiled
                                                       Richard H. Caldwell, Jr.
 soft                                                                                       that cover so much of her life.
                                                       Catherine M. Caldwell                   The picture I shared with you was
   I once again look at his parents an
                                                       1038 Main Street 2 R                 one taken on Maureen's camera
 angel God had given them.                        Worcester, MA 01603
                    By Rochelle S.                                                          about two and half hours before
                                                  Phone: 508-757-1021                       Maureen's accident at her Dad's
    This is part of a poem that Ben's best        Richard's Email:                          retirement party (after 33 years with
 friend's mother wrote shortly after Ben                  the Memphis Police Department) for
 drowned. Without friends like her I              Catherine's Email:                        a few family members and friends.
 don't think I would have made it.                       The police department had a huge
                                                                                            retirement party for him as Deputy
Chief earlier. She had her Dad's best        Fortunately, I am surrounded by many          held many class officer positions.
friend take the picture for her and it was   good friends who understand and care.         She was an ambassador to the Hugh
the last frame on her roll of film. We did   Of course, my two sons Billy and Dennis,      O'Brien Youth Foundation and
not know about it until we retrieved her     their wives Naomi and Hope, and my            served on the Model United Nations
personal belongings form her dorm            grandson William, whom I adore, live          panel at Rhodes College. She was an
room at University of Memphis and had                                                      International         Baccalaureate
                                             here in Memphis and are an endless
her film developed. Bill threw his shirt                                                   Candidate, a member of Mu Alpha
away that he was wearing that night af-      source of consolation to me. My daughter
                                             Tricia, her husband Greg and my other         Theta National Honor Society and
ter seeing it. Naturally, I cherish the                                                    was listed in the Who's Who among
picture.                                     two grandchildren, Reilly and Jay, live in
                                                                                           American High School Students. She
    She left the party with her older        Washington State. I just wish they weren't    was first runner-up in the Miss IC
brother, Billy and his date, Naomi, who      so far away, but they are happy there.        contest in her senior year, attesting
is now his wife and they brought her         Dennis and Hope are expecting another         her popularity with her fellow
back by the house to pick up her car,        baby in May, whom I'm sure will claim         students, teachers and her academic
her grandmother's old yellow VW She          yet another comer in my heart. Life and       grades. Maureen's GPA was 3.9. As
did not come in and headed back to           love go on in spite of loss.                  a result of her scores on her ACT
Memphis State. The police think she fell          I feel I have somewhat of a connec-      and SAT, she was offered scholar-
asleep at the wheel, as there was no         tion with you and Rosemary by name            ships of Merit at the time of her
sign of skid marks. She was not wearing      association. You have a sister named          graduation to Christian Brothers
a seat belt, but the bells were old, and     Elaine and I had a sister named Rose-         University, Spring Hill College in
think that is why. She always wore the                                                     Alabama and Memphis State
                                             mary. I do have another brother Jack in
seat bell in my Corolla when she used it.
                                             St. Louis and a sister Patty in Boston.       University. She also received the
She hit a telephone pole and was killed
                                             There are only three out of six of us left.   Josten's Foundations Leadership
instantly. I thank God that it was a
single car accident, no one else was              Needless to say, I feel so alone with-   Award      and    the   Presidential
injured and she did not have to suffer.      out Bill. We would have been married 42       Academic Fitness Award.
    We had her for twenty years and are      years on June 21, 1999. I miss him more          Renee Avery Murray's son, Na-
grateful for each one of them. She was a     than I can express at this time.              than (3-1-74), died in an automobile
"joy" to us and all that /mew her. Like           Like all of our children, Maureen was    accident 9-7-95. Renee tells how she
all of our children, she was just            a "treasure" from the time she came into      heard about LAMENTATIONS:
unusually "special.”                         this world. She loved her friends and
    I lost my husband suddenly in his        family and was always so full of life and         I got your name from the
sleep a year ago on January 26, 2000,        so caring. I always thought she was wise      Children of the Dome web site. I just
which devastated me. The only conso-         beyond her years, and called her "my          finished Mrs. Smith's book today and
lation I could take from his death was       little Irish biddy" as a baby.                found the stories very helpful. I lost
that he was with Maureen. He could                                                         my only son, Nathan, in a car
never accept her death, and I truly be-           She was very involved with her so-
                                             rority, Della Gamma, at Memphis State         accident on September 7, 1995.
lieve that contributed to his death at age                                                 Living with the loss of a child is true
67. He had a slight TIA in July 1999,        and also participated in many other extra
                                                                                           agony but I can say this past year I
but after an overnight stay in the           curricular activities. she was going to be
                                                                                           have felt a little better and feel more
hospital with many tests, was dismissed.     President of the Panhellenic in her senior
                                                                                           hopeful that I will be able to carry
He did take an aspirin a day and Lipitor     year at MSU.                                  on with my life and actually want to,
to lower his cholesterol, but it was              Between her studies, she found time to   which is a big statement for me.
under control and monitored by the           hold jobs to help her with her personal       Tomorrow he would have been 27
doctor as early as November. His             expenses, having worked in retail, at a       years old so this is an especially
blood pressure was always very good.         pharmacy, restaurant and a church             hard time of the year. But there are
    I have lost so many of my family         nursery and baby sat and did volunteer        so many special days and or
members in the last six years that I feel    work as a Candy Striper when she was          anniversaries of something that
completely alone at times. My sister,        too young to get a job.                       bereaved parents have to get
Rosemary, died six years ago this week.           Maureen not only distinguished her-      through all the time (while trying to
She lived in San Jose. My twin brother
Edward had an accident resulting in          self in college, but also throughout her      keep working and acting "normal'?!
brain injury five years ago after my son     eight years at Holy Rosary Catholic           I think the strength that we develop
Dennis' wedding. He fell asleep at the       School. She was involved with scouts,         as bereaved parents is amazing and,
wheel driving back to Jonesboro, AK. I       sports, cheerleading, and on the swim         of course, we would all chose to be
found my older brother Bob (who was          team for the Catholic Club from age 5--       mere weaklings once again if we
Edward's guardian after the accident)        13. At the time of her eighth grade           could only have our kids back!
dead of an apparent heart attack three       graduation, she won awards in subjects            I worked with the Hoosier
years ago. He never married and lived        she studied, plus she was awarded an          National Forest a year or so after
alone in Memphis. Then in November of        anonymous scholarship to Immaculate           Nathan's death and had a new trail
2000, Edward (I called him Bubba) died       Conception High School.                       adopted in his name; something they
alone in Jonesboro of an apparent heart                                                    had never done before, but were
                                                  At Immaculate Conception she was
attack. All of these deaths have shown                                                     generous enough to do. It made such
                                             active both in school and after with many     a difference in my healing. We visit
their toll on me.                            extra curricular activities and
there 3 or 4 times a year if it is in           we would make trips to sit and watch            John, Wren and Wren Sr. all
Southern Indiana about 5hrs from us).           something I could not understand.           loved to swim. John and Wren Jr.
When I walk the trail, I like to think of him        We learned after John's death, that    were also into scuba diving. Wren
there. He loved the forest very much and        John's classmates and others had given      had been to Florida at least a
hiked often when he went to                                                                 couple of times to scuba dive. In
                                                him the nickname of "Doc." It's odd         fact, one was a college course.
school at IU. I guess a forest                  because "Doc" was one of the nick-
scene or a treed pathway                                                                        I really didn't want John to go
                                                names "Paw-Paw" Walters had many            on that trip in July; but I finally
would be his symbol.                            years ago when he played football.          relented.
                                                    John could be a bit of a clown and          And when they left for Florida
     Wren and Volinda Walter's son,             when he was being so, he had a way of       that Tuesday night, July 2nd, I felt
 John Edward (8-28-56), died in a scuba         talking through his teeth.                  good about the trip. There were six
 diving accident 7-5-74. Volinda tells us           John was a very caring person. He       young people, one of whom was in
 about John:                                    was never hesitant to show affection or     his thirties and very responsible;
                                                that he cared. He loved children and        and they were all so happy. Little
     Thank you so much for the gift of                                                      did I know what was ahead.
                                                pets and often referred to them as being
 your Lamentations. They are so inspi-                                                          John died on July 5, 1974, in
                                                cute.                                       Florida. What is amazing is that on
 rational. And to read of the magnitude              We have a picture of John giving me
 of others' losses puts your own in per-                                                    that Friday, I accomplished so
                                                a peck on the cheek as we were pre-         much at the office and when I left
 spective. It is also a comfort to know
                                                paring to leave him after a visit at his    that day, my desk was cleared.
 there are other "fellow travelers.”
                                                school. What we didn't know was that he         John's death has been almost
     Our youngest son died July 5, 1974,
                                                was giving Arkie, one of his buddies, the   unbearable. I didn't get through
 in a scuba diving accident. At that time
                                                finger on my other cheek. I have            those following days myself. The
 there were no support groups and it was
                                                treasured that picture.                     Lord literally carried me. I know
 a rather solitary journey for my                                                           that I was not functional on my
 husband, Wren and me. We needed to                 On April 3, 1974, a tornado swept
                                                through Kentucky and Tennessee.             own.
 talk about John but, as you know; others                                                       Even today, over twenty-two
 were not comfortable with that. We             Homes were flattened and severely
                                                                                            years later, not a day goes by
 found ourselves trying to make others at       damaged in Frankfort and to a lesser        without my longing for John.
 ease.                                          extent in Lebanon, Tennessee. John's            It seems, so often, that after the
     Had I been told that I would survive       headmaster told us that as they were        loss of a child in death, the
 the loss of one of my children, I would        warned of the approaching tornado,          marriage ends in divorce. I can
 have said that is not possible. We were        John, knowing the headmaster could not      understand that now.
 both so helpless that there was nothing        leave his post, asked permission to leave       Each parent has his or her own
 to do but let God take over.                   his barracks (he was in command there)      grief and it is very, very difficult to
     We have survived one step at a time.       to check on the headmaster's wife and       lend support to the other. Wren and
 And now we offer and lend our support          two young children. John was always         I were fortunate that in the
 to one person or family at a time.             somewhat afraid of storms, but in this      beginning, in our shock, we each
                                                                                            withdrew a bit into our own cocoon.
    In the late 1900's, Wren and Volinda        instance, he ran through falling trees
                                                                                            And as reality began to surface, it
 did a family history, the following is         and limbs to shelter the family under an    seemed that when one of us was at
 from their "Self-Discovery Journey:"           overturned sofa in their home just as the   our lowest, the other was a little
                                                tornado hit.                                stronger. Thus, we were able to
    John Edward Walters is about life
                                                   At his commencement exercise that        lean on each other.
 and death. He was all about life. When I
 look back, I think he must have had a          year, he was recognized for that action         One concern I continue to have
                                                and also received the Demolay Award         is that we were so engrossed in our
 sense that his time was limited here.
                                                of that year.                               own grief that we may not have
 Every day he seemed to want to crowd
                                                    Another of my most treasured            given Wren Jr. as much support as
 so much into it, especially the last year                                                  he needed from us. It is comforting
 or so. I often reminded him that there         memories is when we attended Heights'
                                                equivalent of a prom. Wren Jr. and          to know that Wanda was there for
 was always tomorrow, especially that                                                       him. We did the best we could at the
 last summer.                                   Wanda came and the parents were in-         time.
      John had a wonderful high school          vited to be on the sidelines. I was so          Oh, how we have loved our chil-
 senior year. His class work improved           proud of both of my boys to see the so-     dren. You don't realize how much
 dramatically and he developed a                cial graces they had developed.             they are a part of you until one is
 maturity that year that was almost                 After graduation and upon arrival       gone.
 unreal. And it seemed that he literally        home for the summer, John seemed to             The outpouring of love, concern
 blossomed into his own from Easter             have a need to crowd so much into each      and care helped to carry us
 until he died in July.                         day. He had a summer job with the state     through. The reaching out of Wren's
      John lived and played football, a         in Civil Defense and they, too, seemed      and John's friends as well as our
 game I never understood or liked. But          to sense his intensity for each day.        own, was just unbelievable. John's
                                                                                            classmates and fellow students
                                                                                            came from all over the country.
    I have never thought of a symbol for        For behind my outward appearance,               And you are my sunshine,
John but it would have been "love."          way down deep inside my soul                    Sweet, Sweet Chan,
Love of everything living, love of life         Is the pain that's with me always, for          Never leaving my heart, never,
and all of outdoors. He was one who          the child I long to hold.                       ever can.
crowded so much of living in each day           One day passes another, the years till          Love you forever,
of his lift. So I don't have a symbol per    continue on                                                Mom
se. If I were to have a symbol for John,        I've had days of joy and laughter, but     Chantel's symbols
it would be out-stretched arms to em-        in my silence it's her I reflect on.          are butterflies and
brace life and the world all about him.         I'm not the "me" that lance knew, I        Winnie the Pooh.
                                             changed two years ago,
    Leo and Shirley Plante's daughter,          When life showed me the suffering               Bobby      and
Chantel (12-11-80), died from an eating      and pain no one should ever know. Yes,         Linda Clark's son, 10 (7-2-82), died
disorder, 9-23-98. Shirley laments:          once upon a time, a beautiful daughter         in an auto accident 9-23-00. Linda
                                             was born unto me,                              shares her feelings:
   Thank you so much for the Xmas               And I thought I'd live happily ever af-         Today is my birthday and I was
package and newsletter. I received it        ter, but I can't......                         awakened at 4AM with a sense of
today and it was such a nice touch. I           For what I want most can never, ever        peace that I have not felt since Jon's
really appreciate receiving those            be.                                            death (September 23, 2000) I
newsletters and anniversary date cards.                                                     realized that I am thankful for my
                                                MY SUNSHINE                                 life and the beautiful, child that
    Because of you I contacted Rose-            Memories of you blur in my mind And
mary Smith and she sent me her book                                                         defined who I was, even if only for
                                             in my life I'm struggling to find              eighteen years. Perhaps this is my
Children of the Dome. It was such a             The answers to questions I'm trying to
great book. Thank you for emailing me                                                       birthday gift from Jon... .this sense
                                             face.                                          of peace. I ask no questions, just
about the early edition show she was on         While dreaming of you in that heav-
I would never have known about this                                                         grateful for the good days!
                                             enly place.                                        I am thankful that I talked with
book otherwise. It gives me some hope.
   I now have a memorial website for            I know you're at peace, I know you're       you early in my grief journey and
Chantel. It isn't finished yet. The music,   at ease                                        for my friend Joe who helped us
pictures and links should be up soon.           I just long to hold you or drift away in    find each other. October 18, 2000,
There are also poems written by              a breeze.                                      you called and I felt I had finally
Chantel about her Anorexia:                     Together at last for now and always         talked     with     someone       who
                                                I know it can't be, but with you my         understood my pain. Through you,                                                          Rosemary, Claudia, Kay and other
chantel                                      heart stays.
                                                So until that day we shall meet again       fellow travelers have blessed me. I
   Please sign my guestbook. This is                                                        feel I know the parents in your
very exciting for me. I've been wanting         I'll be thinking of you and loving with
                                             out end.                                       newsletters. I began to read old
to do this for a year now and it finally                                                    copies of Lamentations that you had
happened It is like giving this to Chantel      Your soul is eternal, so giving, so free
                                                But oh how I wish you were just here        sent to me this morning and I am
for Christmas.                                                                              overwhelmed by the stories of our
                                             with me.
 The following       poems     are   from       I pray so that God will uncover my          precious children who are no
Chantel's website:                                                                          longer with us. These parents
                                             eyes                                           comfort me in ways that no one else
    MY BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER                       And bless me to be with you in the          has been able to do.
                                             skies.                                             I was looking at my garden
                                                For now I'll remain on this life's bro-     yesterday. I have not touched it
  Once upon a time a beautiful daugh-        ken path
ter was born unto me,                                                                       since Jon died and it is a real mess
                                                Enduring this trial of the bitter           of weeds dead vines and limbs. I
  She brought so much joy and love till      aftermath.
her death at age seventeen.                                                                 have a stone in my garden that
                                                Each day turns to months, months            read, "One is closer to God in a
  My heart remains so heavy since that
                                             into years                                     garden than anywhere else on
day when she died,
  I know it's weighted with more tears          The world keeps on turning and won't        earth" and I have always felt such
that I have yet to cry.                      stop for my tears.                             peace working in my garden. I am
                                                Oh cherished angel in heaven above          feeling the need to place my hands
  Outwardly, I'm moving along; you say                                                      in the dirt and plant flowers when I
that's good to see."                            Don't cry for me as I feel your sweet
                                             love.                                          thought of you and how like a
  But you don't know about the quiet                                                        gardener you have been to all of us.
times when I'm alone with me.                   For all that you've given, will not go
                                             to waste.                                          You have planted seeds of hope
  I think about her passing, how I’ll                                                       in all of us who have suffered the
never be the same                               I've learned much from your parting,
                                             fears we must face.                            greatest loss of all - the deaths of
  Sorrow is a part of my life, it enters                                                    our children. You patiently and
daily as I whisper Chan's name.                 Yes, I am your mother, though not by
                                             your side                                      lovingly tend to our needs like a
  Oh yes, I smile, I laugh, and I go to                                                     gardener who nurtures his plants –
work each day                                   We are together like the moon to the
                                                                                            knowing at times we look and feel
  As I carry on with my lift in a façade     tide                                           barren and lifeless yet you pray for
kind of way.
 our return to life. You are willing to       flood my mind in regard to James. I will      shocking, embarrassing, and depress-
 shovel our grief," carry our burdens in      start with the basics.                        ing time I had ever experienced.
 your wheelbarrow of love-sprinkling             James Herbert Kallies was born on             All the people that we knew and all
 nourishment and encouragement in the         Mother's Day weekend 1974. He was             those that were members of our
 most compassionate way I have ever           my Mothers Day gift. Jamie won the            church started bringing us mountains
 observed. You realize that without feed-     cutest baby in the nursery award at one       of food, clothing, baby things, money,
 ing our souls, our spirits will wilt and     day old and the nursing staff at St. Vin-     and handmade quilts. We were truly
                                              cent's Hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin       blessed by their kindness and generos-
 sag yet your words of love allow us to                                                     ity. People that saw our story on the
 stand tall and smile at the sunshine and     placed a little pink ribbon bow on the
                                              outside of his receiving blanket in the       TV stations started turning out in
 to also endure the rainy storms that now                                                   droves to see us and ask what they
 are a part of what we know as our life.      middle of his butt so the world could see     could do to help. I was also a den
 You demonstrate that when we reach           his award.                                    mother for the cub scouts so when eve-
 out to help others, it is we who are            Two weeks before Jim's birth, we had       ryone learned about our fiery dilemma
 helped.                                      our brand new home burned to the              and that we had lost all of our baby
   I would be honored for you to share        ground due to an electrical fire that         things, Baby James had three different
 my Christmas letter and my phone             started in the attic in a humidifying fan.    baby showers without his mother
 number and address. I would love to          I was the only adult at home that day         being present at any of them. Jamie
 know other fellow travelers in a more        and discovered that something was not         was born after 24 hours of hard labor
 personal way.                                right when my three-year-old son, John        that I didn't believe he or I would
   I have just emerged from my dark           came screaming through the house to           survive. My faith was being tested in a
 days of depression and my counselor          me with fire in his hair. I grabbed him       very big way and I wasn't at all sure I
 asked me, "What helped you come out of       up and ran to the bathroom, threw a           would be able to make the grade.
 the darkness?" It was easy to answer. I      bath towel over his head to put out the       Seven months later, James contracted
                                              .fire. Thank God I was able to get the        chicken pox and became infected with
 had felt Jon saying to me.. "Get up                                                        staff infection in his chicken pox
 MOM, you have slept enough. It is time       fire out before it burned his scalp. I
                                              grabbed John by the arm and dragged           eruptions. My husband Willis and I
 to get on with your life. You NEED to                                                      took Jamie to the hospital only to be
                                              him to the telephone and called the fire
 talk about me, so remember me and                                                          sent back home after being told he
                                              department and then tried to call the
 make my life count." I promised him I                                                      would be fine. Two days after that, we
                                              company my husband worked for to
 would. I am feeling a surge of energy I      have them send him home. I said to him:       were back at the emergency room with
 have not felt in some time. I realize        "The house is on fire!" They thought I        our terribly swollen baby for which we
 tomorrow that I may be lifeless, yet I       had gone to the hospital so they told my      could do nothing to relieve this pain.
 now accept what bright moments I am          husband, "Gwen said to tell you the           Much to my amazement and shock,
 given as precious gifts.                     house is on fire." Bill started calling the   Willis and I were being asked why we
   I realize there is a purpose for my life                                                 hadn't gotten help for him sooner.
                                              hospital instead of coming home right         When we told them that we had been
 and that is to talk about Jon - to keep      away. A neighbor and fireman was
 his memory alive - and to do whatever I                                                    trying to get the doctor to take us
                                              passing by and came to the front door to      seriously that Jim was in trouble, we
 can to ease the burdens of other fellow      tell me that my roof was on fire. That
 travelers.                                                                                 met with a defining silence. Shortly af-
                                              was the first that I was aware of the         ter that, the doctor told me that he
   Just like the gardener who brings life     location of the fire and smoke... If it       might not be able to save James' life.
 to his dying plants, you have helped         hadn't been for that man insisting that I     We gave permission for the hospital to
 nurture me back to life and I thank you.     not continue to look for the fire to put it   do a spinal tap on Jim, to find out
                                              out, John and I probably wouldn't have        what we were dealing with. Spinal
   Jon's symbols are a monarch                gotten out of the house in time to save       meningitis was ruled out. James was
butterfly and the peace symbol.               ourselves.                                    admitted to the hospital and intensive
                                                 Within five minutes, three fire trucks     intravenous therapy was begun. I was
   Bill and Gwen Kallie's son, Jim            were on the scene, but couldn't put out       so angry, sad and stressed out at
 (5-8-74), was murdered 4-6-99. Gwen          the fire. We lost everything that we          seeing my baby with all the tubes
 encourages us all to be good citizens:       owned except the clothes on our backs         running into his little body that I didn't
                                              and our family. To make a long story          know what to do. So I called the
   What a pleasant surprise to find a         short, we spent the next few days at the      pastor of our church, Ron Voss, and
 card from you in my mailbox. Bill and I      Pastor of our church home with his wife       asked him to please have everyone
 both hope that reading our story will        and family. When James was born, we           pray for our precious baby boy... God
 bring a degree of comfort to other fel-      moved our family into a motel. We were        granted us our wish and restored our
 low travelers.                               strong, church-going members and I            James to relative good health, even
   Please encourage others that read the      was enrolled in adult teacher's training      though he had to live with some large
 newsletter to help us by calling in on the   program. Up until that point in life, we      and awful-looking scars on his
 secret witness hot lines if they ever                                                      stomach and back.
                                              were always on the giving end of life,            Our James grew up to be big and
 learn of anyone talking about or having      seldom giving any thought to being            strong, 6'3" tall and weight of 204 lbs.
 any information that will help us bring      good receivers some day. The news             He was an intelligent, loving, kind,
 Jim's murderer(s) to justice.                media appeared in a flash (all four TV        gifted and giving person, who loved
   May I present my beloved and young-        stations), descending upon us to get the      animals and people. He never met a
 est son, Jim, to you. So many memories       story at the most
stranger that he didn't consider to be a       until they confess to what they have             I would love to share the story of
friend that he hadn't met yet! This trait      done and why they did it.                   my Drew with you. Thank you for
always worried me because Jim would               Within minutes of hearing gun shots,     asking.
give the shirt off his own back to anyone      3 people called 911 to summons help for          Drew was born May 25, 1984, and
that seemed to need it. Whenever I tried                                                   welcomed to our family by his brother
                                               Jim. To those folks, we are deeply          Clark who was 3 at the time. I was
to caution him about this, he would            grateful. A police officer said he was on   hoping for a girl this time, but was
simply say, "Oh Mom, don't worry,              the sight within a minute, but there was    thrilled with my new son. The first
everything is going to be OK!"                 nothing that could be done to save Jims     thing he did as he entered this world
   James Herbert Kallies was named for         life. For five hours, our son's body laid   was to tee-tee on my stomach. He was
my father, Herbert Leland Hill. Jim, at        in the street along-side his blue-black     a cone-head and it seemed that every-
the time of his death, had completed 13        pick-up truck. This was a homicide;         one who came to see him brought him
years of formal education, 1 year of           nothing could be removed or touched. I      a hat. Within a few weeks, his little
college and three years of trade school        felt like my heart was being wrenched       head had straightened up and he was
as an honor student and plumbing               right out of my body and these              a beautiful baby.
pipe1ftting and welding apprentice in          guardians of the law were doing a                Clark was like having a little adult
Local 525 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jim                                                        around the house. He had always been
                                               stomping dance on it. At that time, all I   such a calm and mature little fellow.
worked on some of the major hotels and         wanted was to gather my son up in my
casinos on the Las Vegas Strip; the last                                                        Like Rosemary said about
                                               arms and carry him home where it was        Jeremiah, he was born with an old
one being the new Venetian hotel and           safe and never let him go. No one would
Casino. A picture of his name badge has                                                    soul. Therefore, little were we
                                               allow me to even touch my own son. I        prepared for the spunky spirit of his
been enclosed. I really cherish this           felt like I was going to die right there.   little brother Drew. He was a handful.
photo of him because I made the                We learned, two days later, that our        Drew was a bright-eyed, boisterous,
welder's cap that he had on his head           beloved son had been robbed of his          curious, hot tempered and friendly
and had just given him his own leather         wallet, cash and credit cards as well as    toddler. My family owns a business
welders jacket. (An honor to a welding         his lap top computer that he used for his   and I worked part-time when the boys
apprentice) Jim aspired to someday be a                                                    were little. At the little nursery
master plumber, Pipe fitter and Building                                                   school/day care that they attended, the
trades welder just like his oldest            Jim Kallies' symbol is the many faceted,     teachers often commented on how
brother, William, and his Pappa, Willis.      round diamond. Close friends and his         quiet Drew was!! I was flabbergasted.
   Jim worked very hard at whatever he        family knew him as "Diamond Jim." In         I guess if he was going to be a little
was doing and made money in the               his short life, he developed many            angel at times, I'm glad he did it at
process. When he wasn't at work, he           dimensions, was like a precisely cut and     school.
was fixing up custom cars for others,         polished diamond that could light up a            When Clark was 8 and Drew was
polishing up his own midnight blue            room with his very presence. 1 should        4, their dad, Ron, and I divorced. It
                                                                                           was devastating for me and Clark took
Trans-am car, motor cycling with his          have guessed that he was only on loan        it really hard. However, Drew faced it
friends in the Road Rider's Motor Cycle       from heaven for a short time. I should be    with a resiliency that was amazing. He
club or playing pool with his team, the       grateful for the 24 and 3/4 years that       was a Mama's boy and as long as I
Las Vegas Sharks.                             God let me keep and enjoy him. As I          was around, he was O.K. He carried
   On April 6, 1999, (Jim's great grand-      approach the second anniversary of           this resilience throughout many
mother, Anna Hills birthday), in the          Diamond Jim's passing, I don't feel very     obstacles in his life. Ron and I were
early morning hours, in a quiet resi-         thankful. I wanted much                      able to part as friends, and within a
dential street on the east side of Las                                                     few years of the divorce, he moved a
                                              more time with my precious                   few blocks away, and the boys were
Vegas, Nevada, our son James H was
shot with a 380 pistol, twice in the head     son, just like, I'm sure, you                able to move freely between the two
and three times in his body. A man and        wanted with your Jim...                      households, and had a room and
a woman were seen running away from           Smile!                                       clothes at both houses. For children of
the scene by witnesses that lived in the                                                   divorce, they adjusted beautifully. In
                                                Bob and Betsy Friends' son, Drew           fact, Clark commented after Drew's
homes nearby. No one has been charged         Lawrence (5-25-84), died in an auto          death that because of the divorce, the
with murdering our son. So we can't                                                        bond between the two of them was
                                              accident 10-9-99. Betsy writes:
have closure or comfort in knowing that                                                    stronger. Before their dad settled in
                                                Thank you so much for your sweet
the killers won't kill any one else’s loved                                                Collierville, he lived in apartments.
                                              card and the Lamentations package. I
ones. Witnesses are afraid to come                                                              When the boys would go to spend
                                              enjoyed getting to meet you at the
forward and tell what they know. Even                                                      the weekend with him, Clark says that
with a reward being offered, no one will      Memphis Compassionate Friends and
                                                                                           they only had each other to play with.
help us get the killers off the streets. So   hear the story of your son. 1 ordered        They played so well together. My
some more lives are bound to be               Children of the Dome the next day from       parents often took the boys to their
shattered before this nightmare ends. Every story touched my           lake house for the weekend. They
We, as a family, are asking all that hear     heart. I am inspired by the messages of      would fish, and swim, and picnic. My
our voices to keep praying for the            hope throughout the book. I'm sure it        mother has often commented at how
capture and conviction of our son, Jim's      was therapeutic for you to write your        well the boys could amuse themselves
murderers. May they not experience            story, and I hope you realize how help-      sitting in the boat on dry ground and
another day of peace                          ful it is to the many readers who strug-     pretending, or by rolling play cars
                                              gle daily though our grief journeys.         and trucks through the woods. Today,
my folks have a hard time going to the          remember feeling so badly for Drew. It           His worst injury was the chemical
lake as the memories are so painful.            is enough to have to battle a learning      bums over his torso. Drew had been
They live just a few miles away from me         problem, but to compound It with nar-       riding in the back of a pickup along
in Collierville, and they had a                 colepsy, was too much. I felt so proud of   with another boy. There were 3 other
wonderful relationship with my boys.                                                        boys in the cab. They took a short cut
                                                him for his positive attitude and           down a rural road about 5 miles from
They were the first grandchildren for my        wondered how his grades were as good
parents. They still grieve so deeply jar                                                    my house. The truck left the road on a
                                                as they were. This resilience that he       narrow      bridge     and    hit     an
Drew, and for me. I am so blessed to            displayed as a small boy was back into
have them, and I'm so glad they have                                                        embankment. Drew was thrown out of
                                                play. The last semester report card         the back and the truck landed on its
each other. I have two brothers who
                                                Drew would ever have was all A's and        side on top of him in the bottom of a
also live in Collierville, and I also work                                                  ditch. Two of the boys were knocked
with them. I know that, as terrible as          B's - he made the honor roll!
                                                    Drew played many sports, starting       out in the cab, and the other one was
this has been, I am so fortunate to have                                                    able to wake them and they kicked
a strong active family unit so close.           with soccer when he was 4. He also
                                                played basketball, baseball, football,      their way out of the windshield. The
   Clark is a gifted student, and makes                                                     other boy in the back of the truck was
straight A's with little effort. By the time    and taekwondo. His great love was
                                                                                            pinned by his leg under the truck.
Drew started school; I felt that he had a       baseball, and he played at a competitive    They managed to pull his leg out.
learning problem. Others told me that I         level since the age of 7. He was a          However, they couldn't get Drew out,
was just comparing him to Clark, but as         talented pitcher. His 13 year old season,   and they were afraid to move him
a former school teacher (I retired from         he was the team's MVP, leading the          fearing a broken back or neck. The
teaching at 25), I felt like Drew was           team in pitching, fielding, and batting.    driver, and Drews best .friend, Josh,
confused and had a difficult time               Clark also played baseball and had just     stayed with Drew while the other boys
focusing. Though he passed the first            completed his 4 years of varsity            ran for help. Josh said that Drew was
grade with mostly C’s, his teacher and I        baseball for the high school when Drew      saturated with gasoline as he landed
felt that he would benefit by repeating.        was an entering .freshman. The summer       under the gas cap. Somehow, the gas
He was the youngest in the class and            before his .freshman year, Drew got to      leaked out. He said that Drew was not
she felt that another year of maturity          play with the Junior Varsity team. This     alert but was moaning. After about 10
would help him. Drew agreed. He came                                                        minutes Josh decided to run for help
                                                is something that rarely happens. Most      in the other direction. He found a little
home one day and said, Mama, I think I          boys don't play until they are already in
need to go back through the first grade.                                                    shack and the people let him use the
                                                high school. I thank God that Drew got      phone. He then ran back and stayed
I'm lost. It was about this time that he        that opportunity.
was diagnosed with an auditory                                                              with Drew until help arrived. From
                                                   Drew was so happy to be starting         the time of the wreck until the first
processing problem.
                                                high school. He only got to attend for      help got there was about 30 minutes.
   Unfortunately, there was no pill or
                                                seven weeks. My phone call came on          After the helicopter got there, they
cure. He just had to learn to adapt his                                                     worked on Drew for about 30-40
learning methods, and organize himself.         Saturday, October 2, 1999. I was at Ole
                                                Miss that day. I had moved Clark down       minutes before they flew him to The
I spent nearly every night reviewing and                                                    Med. He had lost consciousness, but
studying with Drew. I am so thankful            there seven weeks before for his
                                                freshman year. I was down there with a      on the flight, he woke up and began to
now for his learning problem as It                                                          talk to them.
allowed me this special time with him.          friend, helping our sorority with rush.
                                                                                                 Drew arrived at the hospital at
This      continued      throughout       his   We had taken Clark out to dinner, and       midnight, but it was about 5 AM
elementary years. By the time he was in         had just returned to our hotel room.        before we could see him. We felt pretty
the fifth grade, he finally had a report        Carroll got a call and was told she         good about the prognosis. Drew was
card with straight A's. God bless him,          needed to take It at the front desk. When   on a ventilator and sedated when we
he wanted that so badly, as his brother         she returned to the room, she told me       first saw him. He had some scrapes on
did it all the time.                            that my husband Bob called and that         his forehead and a big cut in the back
   By the time he got to the middle             Drew had been air-lifted to The Med. I      of his head that they hadn't sutured
school, he wanted me to back off and let        couldn't seem to take this in, and she      yet. He had 2nd to 3rd degree
him go it alone. He did a good job,             had to pull me out of bed and tell me to    chemical bums all over his chest and
though it was hard for me to let go. He         pack my things. She drove Clark and I       belly and upper arms from the
complained a lot during his seventh             to Memphis. It is only an hour drive, but   gasoline, but they had a bum vest on
grade year, that he was having trouble                                                      them. His body temperature was 86
                                                I had to make that drive, not knowing if    degrees and he had a warming
staying awake in class. I kind of dis-          Drew was dead or alive, or how badly
missed this as a teenage thing. But, he                                                     blanket.
                                                he was injured. I don't think I was              He was swollen due to all the
continued to complain that he was               breathing. When we arrived at The Med
sleepy all day. My dad has narcolepsy                                                       fluids they were pumping in him.
                                                Trauma Center, we were told that Drew       There were many people there with us
(the sleeping sickness where you have
                                                arrived conscious and alert, and knew       that night, and after we saw him and
extreme daytime sleepiness). So I de-                                                       got the hopeful news, most of them
cided to have Drew tested. He went              his name. I was so relieved, because my
                                                biggest fear was a head injury. He was      left. Josh, the driver and his family
through a sleep study at 14 years old.                                                      were devastated. He was treated and
   He failed It miserably. The doctor           not moving his legs, but tests revealed
                                                that nothing was broken or crushed. The     released as were the other boys. They
said that Drew probably never felt the                                                      all had minor scrapes and a few of
alertness that normal people did. So he         first prognosis was that he would
                                                                                            them had concussions. Bob, Clark,
started Ritalin to help his narcolepsy. I       probably regain movement in his legs.       and I along with Drew's dad Ron and
                                                                                            He lost massive amounts of blood.
his wife Regina settled in the ICU               By Monday night, Dr. Smith came to         Finally, before we settled in for the
waiting roam at The Med. The Med is a         us and said that Drew had crashed. His        night, they had gotten the bleeding
Level 1 Trauma Center, and we knew            kidneys had failed, and they needed to        under control and he was stable. We
Drew was getting the best care possible.      get dialysis started, but he might not live   wanted to get some sleep, because we
   Around noon Sunday, we were called         long enough to get it started. He was on      hoped he would be getting his new
to a conference with the attending            a minute-by-minute status. The hospital       liver Saturday. The five of us were
doctor. She told us that Drews liver was      was full of friends and family and they       sharing a hotel room that adjoined
failing, and they wanted to do                all packed into the chapel. Ron, Clark,       the hospital, so we could be at his
exploratory surgery to see if the tests       Bob, Regina, and I stayed by the phone        bedside in minutes. We were called by
and X-rays had missed anything. I             in the waiting room while they worked         Dr. Smith at about 1:30 AM to tell us
                                                                                            that they were having problems
believe she gave him a 50-50 chance of        on Drew. Dr. Smith told us that Drew          keeping his oxygen levels up and
surviving this surgery. They did the          needed a miracle to make it through the       controlling the fluid in his lungs. He
surgery, but couldn't see any reason for      crisis, but he believed that Drew was a       said that we couldn't come because
his problems. They then began to be-          miracle boy. He did make it, and by the       they were constantly working on him.
lieve that some toxin from the gasoline       next day he was trying to communicate             We tried to sleep, but got a call at
or gasoline additives was attacking           with us again. This was also the day          3:30 AM that we should come. We
Drew's system. They said that this is not     that we were told that tests showed his       ran over there and Dr. Smith met us
supposed to happen. They have never           liver to be 90% dead, and he needed a         in the hall to tell us that they had
seen anyone react to gasoline this way.       liver transplant to live. I might mention     done all they could, but it was time to
By Sunday night, we had a good visit          here that Drew decided at 10 years old        say goodbye. Actually, he couldn't
with Drew. He was giving us the A             to become an organ donor. He even             seem to find the words to tell us that,
flying Hawaiian sign (Shaka) and              made me sign my donor card. How               but when I finally realized what he
squeezing everyone's hand.                    ironic that he now needed a transplant        was saying and asked him if it was
   On Monday, he was sitting up trying        in order to live. His bone marrow had         over, he nodded his head yes. The
to communicate with us through writing        also failed, and he was struggling with       machines were keeping him alive, but
and lip reading. At our afternoon visit,      his lungs. We had meetings with the           his little body had done all it could. At
Drew had extubated himself and re-            transplant doctor who told us that Drew       around 5:30, we called family and
moved his nasal tube. We had a hard           would be listed as #1 on the list for a       Drew's closest friends to come tell
time getting him to wake up and talk to       liver, but he must first get the approval     him goodbye.
us, but we were so excited to see him         of every doctor. This meant tests by              Somehow, I found the strength and
without the ventilator. He          finally   neurologists, cardiologists, etc.             courage to help my precious son die.
opened his eyes, and his dad asked him           Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday                I wanted to scream and beg for
how he was. In a gruff voice he said,         were spent testing and evaluating. Patti      him not to die, but instead I told him
"Oh, I'm all right." That's all we ever       worked so hard to get Drew ready. She         it was okay to let go. I laid him of the
                                                                                            people he would see and that he
got to hear him say, as they had to re-       concentrated on every little number on        would be with Jesus. I told him to
intubate him after that visit.                every machine. He was sedated most of         follow the light. I am more proud of
   I had one of the most touching mo-         the time these days. He continued to          being able to do this than anything
ments of my life that day. Drew often         have many, many visitors, and the             else I've ever done. At 7:50 AM,
laid down by me at night before he went       doctors allowed all of them to see Drew.      Saturday October 9, 1999,
to bed. He had trouble falling asleep         We only could see him for 30 minutes, 4           Drew left this world, and my world
and would get me to rub his face to           times a day, so we had to coordinate          was forever changed. I am grateful
make him sleepy. In the hospital that         everyone in and out of there after a few      for the week we had with him and the
day, he took my hand and put it to his        minutes at a time. The nurses would           chance to tell him over and over how
cheek and began a rubbing motion.             allow family to visit late in the night       much he was loved and how proud he
   He wanted his Mama to help him rest.       when things were quiet. One morning           made me.
Drew had the most wonderful nurse,            around 3 AM I went for a visit and just           I am sometimes haunted by the ex-
Patti Pike. She fell in love with Drew,       held his hand.                                periences of that week and sometimes
and he with her. His primary doctor was          It was decided on Friday, Oct. 8th         comforted as I was able to see
a 4 year resident named Ron Smith. He         that the transplant was a go. Every           through the hundreds of visitors how
also bonded with Drew. He slept at            doctor had given their O.K. However,          many lives Drew touched. They were
Drews bedside. He would later tell me         the burn doctors decided that it would        unable to use any of Drews organs, as
that of all the hundreds of patients hes      be best to remove the burned skin on          they were in various stages of failure,
tended, Drew touched his heart in a way       Drew's torso so that they wouldn't have       but he was able to be a tissue donor.
that he cannot explain.                       to risk infection during his recovery of          We knew how much he believed in
   He and Patti came to Drew's funeral,       liver the transplant when his immune          this. In one short week, we went from
although they are not encouraged to do        system would be down. I didn’t feel           a family who desperately needed an
this by the hospital. Patti later said that   good about this because his clotting          organ to a donor family.
                                                                                                Drew's funeral services were at-
she was planning to leave the trauma          factors were so poor due to his liver         tended by about 1000 people. We
unit, but her experience with Drew            failure, but they wouldn't proceed with       were unable to open the casket as he
convinced her to stay. Even at the worst      the transplant without it. They did the       didn't look anything like himself Drew
moments of his life, Drew touched             surgery in about 30 minutes, when it          was 5'9" tall and weighed 145 lb.
hearts.                                       should have taken 2 hours.                    When he died he weighed238 lbs. due
to the massive amount of fluids. His           They have been so wonderful to me         Drew's memory. It was Drew's dream
body had been through so much, they         and Drew's dad, remembering all the          to attend Ole Miss. He was a huge
were unable to dress him or even            special days and hard days with calls,       fan. Drew's three best buds adopted a
embalm his body. He told me when he         visits, and gifts.                           tree in the town square of Collierville
was a little boy that he wanted to be          I am enclosing my angel picture. It       and      dedicated     it    to   Drew.
buried in Collierville, not Memphis. He     was taken on the day of Drew's death at                They put plague at the base of
had lived in Collierville since he was a    the accident site by his friends. There      the tree proclaiming their love and
                                                                                         friendship. It is my primary focus in
year old.                                   was no flash used, and the day was           life to tell Drews story and ensure that
  We were able to get a plot in a beauti-   overcast and rainy. I believe that this is   his memory live on. With the help of
ful old cemetery, Magnolia Cemetery, in     the angel who took Drew to heaven, and       the baseball group, and our friends I
the heart of Collierville. Bob and I        that held me up that week, and helped        can rest assured that this will happen.
bought two plots next to Drew, and Ron      me as I stood at his bedside when he             Clark is now a sophomore at Ole
and Regina bought 3 plots at his head.      died. My watch stopped exactly one           Miss and doing so well. He maintains
  My Mom and Dad bought plots there         hour after Drew's death, and started the     a 3.77 GPA and is the vice president
as well.                                    next night as the visitation began at the    of his fraternity. When he went back to
  I received so many cards, letters, and    funeral home. It continued to run for        school after Drew's death, he had
visits from Drew's classmates telling us    over a year after that before I replaced     missed 2 weeks right at the mid term
how he was such a friend to everyone.       the battery. Twelve days after his death,    mark Somehow, he was able to go
He was the one to make new students         I laid down in Drew's bed for a nap. As      back and maintain his grades and
feel welcomed. His teachers talked so       I slept, I had a visit from Drew. He held    move forward with his life. Soon after
kindly of Drew and his positive attitude.   me in his arms like a baby, and we sat       he returned, he had to write a
He battled a learning problem and           on the edge of my bed. I asked him what      character sketch for a freshman
narcolepsy, but he never gave up. He        had happened, and he told me that it         English c/ass, and he wrote it on
was working so hard on baseball at the      was an accident. I asked him if he was           It is the most beautiful thing I’ve
time of his death. He had turned his thin   all right, and if he'd seen Jesus. He said   ever read. It was so honest and funny,
body into a beautiful muscular machine.     "yes." He told me not to worry, that it      but most of all loving. I try not to ob-
He had just finished driver's ed and had    would be O.K. He let me rub his arms         sess and worry about Clark too much.
gotten his permit two days before the       and face and I asked him for a kiss. He          I know that I'm not immune from
accident.                                   gave me a big kiss on the mouth.             losing him too, but one thing I learned
  He was so proud of that. He got to           When I awoke, I knew that this was        is that we're not in control. All the
drive for 2 days with me. We found out      not just a dream. He came to give me         worry in the world is not going to
the day after the funeral, that Drew was    comfort. Drew was so loving, and al-         prevent another tragedy. Clark is a
voted Class Favorite in the freshman        ways full of I love you's and hugs and       sensible young man and he deserves
class, and this is in a high school of      kisses. I miss that so much.                 to live his life without a smothering
2000 students. The vote was a few days         At an age when most young men are         mother. I'm trying.
before the accident, so it wasn't a sym-    at odds with their parents, Drew and I           As for myself, I am now 16 months
pathy thing. He never knew. By the way,     had found a way to get through the tur-      into my new life. I still am not sure
Clark was also Class Favorite his           bulence of the teenage years with peace.     who I am now or what the future
freshman year.                              Thank God.                                   holds. I sought out counseling from a
                                                                                         wonderful doctor who lost a child
  Drew had beautiful green eyes and a          I had taken a $50,000 life insurance      himself I go to Compassionate
killer smile. He had a hearty laugh that    policy out on both my boys a year be-        Friends. I've read numerous books on
was contagious. I often went to comedy      fore Drew died. I am using the $50,000       grief, the loss of a child, heaven, near
movies with him just to hear him laugh.     to help build a new baseball field on the    death experiences, etc. I write in a
He was a dreamer and a schemer. Drew        campus of the high school. The baseball      journal. I continue to work in my
was quick-witted, so hysterically funny.    team has renamed their annual                family business part time.
He could do the best impersonations.        tournament The Drew Lawrence                     Twice a month, two friends and
His favorite movie was Brave heart and      Dragon Classic and there are t-shirts        myself take meals to the Critical Care
he was fascinated by the Civil War.         all over town that say this. They also       waiting room at The Med. I was so
  He could eat his weight in lobster and    created a Drew Lawrence Memorial             fortunate to have all that I needed, but
cheesecake. He was tenderhearted. In        Golf Tournament and donate a portion         so many of these people are hours
our house, we didn't kill bugs, we set      of the proceeds to the scholarship fund I    from home and have very little money.
them free.                                  established in his name. The Variety         Some are there for months.
  He was adamantly pro-life. I guess it's   Club of Memphis, which supports chil-            It helps me as much as them. I
fair to say that Drew was not lucky.        dren's charities, dedicated a Sunshine       have been blessed with 3 friends that
After all, he was the only one to die in    Coach (a 13 passenger van) in Drew's         go back to my childhood that let me
                                                                                         talk and make me move forward. I
that accident.                              memory and his name is painted on the
                                                                                         have many friends in Collierville, but
  However, he was so blessed. He was        van. This van was donated to The Porter      these 3 that share my past seem to un-
a member of two large extended families     Leath Children's Center in Memphis.          derstand and have been rocks for me.
and was such a vibrant and vital part of    Drew also has a brick in the Variety             There is never a good time to lose
both families. He was able to take some     Heart House in Memphis.                      a child, but I was hit with a double
wonderful trips. He was also blessed           Clark and I also dedicated a brick in     whammy when Drew’s death came
with so many good friends                   the Ole Miss Walk of Champions in
                                                                                             Our bond was unique, our love
just as I was adjusting to Clark's             I had for him, God had something bet-      was so strong,
leaving home for college. My nest            ter in mind                                     Your dying so young was unfair, it
became empty with a bang. My 17 year           I am also enclosing a poem I wrote.        was wrong.
old stepson, Josh, moved in with Bob           I am not a poet, but I had so many            I am still your mother, and you are
and I last May. He had been living with      thoughts swirling through my mind at         my son,
his mother in Hot Springs, AR. It is nice    the time I wrote this, and this is how          Though Death has separated us, it
to have him in the house, but it is also     they came out. I'm sure you can relate.      has not won.
bittersweet watching him attend high           God bless you for the hope you offer          I know that you live in the palm of
school where Drew should be. He is a         to others. Your son must be so proud of      God's hand,
sweet and loving kid though, and he          you. Thank you for giving me the op-            In the place where angels take
seems sensitive to my grief My husband       portunity to share my story with you. It     care of His land
Bob has also been wonderful. We were         helps me to tell it. I hope Drew has met        Watch over and guide me while I
married when Drew was seven, so he           up with Jim in heaven. I think they          am still here,
watched him grow up. Drew always             would enjoy each other!                         Till it's my time to join you, my
referred to Bob as the perfect stepfa-                                                    heart holds you near.
ther. Drew's dad, Ron, and I talk quite a       I'm past the denial, I accept that you
bit. We share our Drew stories and our       are gone,                                    Drew's symbol is an angel.
grief He has a 6 year old son, Tyler,           I understand that my only choice is
who was crazy about Drew. Tyler once         simply to go on.                                 Tim and Connie Dehner's son, Rob
said that Drew has my favorite face.            I've met other parents who share my       (9-15-79), died in an automobile
Never a day goes by that Tyler doesn't       ordeal,                                      accident, 5-19-99. Tim is a wonderful
talk about Drew. I hope he will always          Most have assured me that with time I     poet. He has written many poems, here
remember him. They are also expecting        will heal.                                   are three:
a baby in June, a girl. Her middle name         I've read all the books, and gone to
will be Drew, and Tyler says he will tell    the meetings,                                     It's after midnight as I write to
her all about Drew. She will be born            I've received many cards, words of        each of you. My heart has been heavy
with a built-in guardian angel.              hope and warm greetings.                     with my thoughts of Robert. As the
     Drew's best friend Josh has really         I am taking care army physical and        days pass me by, it is still so hard to
struggled. Ron and I have never been         mental health,                               tell myself he's no longer here. How
angry or blamed him for Drew's death.           I am not worried with my personal         much I want to tell myself it is not so.
It was an accident. Drew would be so         wealth.                                      Yet it is my heart that I must embrace,
angry if we blamed Josh. He never be-           I have worn your clothes and slept in     for it is here that Rob does live. Our
lieved in passing the buck.                  your bed                                     hearts are wounded, and yet blessed
     We have become close friends with          I visit your grave where so many have     For in each of us our heart lies
Josh's parents. This destroyed their lives   tread                                        wounded, and yet with memories of a
too. On Oct. 9, 2000, (the first                I've brought angels, cards, and           life filled. This poem, inspiration from
anniversary of Drew's death) a local         beautiful flowers,                           another I had It was inspired of a
radio station announced Ron and I as            I even go there when it's wet from        woman the day before her death, a
Hometown Heros. Josh and his family          rain showers.                                poem she did write, and had left on
nominated us for standing by Josh and           I've saved the many mementos of your      her desk. Having read her poem many
for what we've done in Drew's memory.        life,                                        months ago, brought a thought to my
The local NBC affiliate picked up on the        Reminders of good times, even times       mind today. If our children were to ask
story and set up an interview with all of    full of strife.                              us these questions I did write, while
us that day. We took pictures of Drew           I've framed many photos, your smile       they were living. How would we have
and told the story of his lift and death.    is everywhere,                               answered? Or, what and how would
The focus was on how we had taken               I talk to you of/en as though you were    we each speak, with what words, and
Josh under our wings and tried to turn       here.                                        feelings replied? Day to day had I
tragedy into triumph. It aired at the           I shared your dreams and I shared         wondered about this lady and only one
6:00 evening news. What a great thing        your goals,                                  question she asked, "would anyone
to happen on such a hard day. Drew              I felt we were joined, even deep in our   miss me if I were to go away today?" I
would've loved to have his picture all       souls.                                       gave it much thought, and yes with
over the television.                            I try not to dwell on all that you've     tears, I read each line I had written. I
    He was not modest. I will always         missed,                                      don't know why I can write with out a
wonder why 4 boys walked away, and              But think of the happy days when we       tear shed Not until I sit back and read
Drew lost his lift in this accident. But I   were so blessed                              each and ever completed line. Then
no longer obsess with the "why's?"              I talk to God, I kneel and I pray,        there are times I have difficulty
There are no answers. Some day I will           I ask Him to help make this pain go       reading the words I have written. I
ask God, but by then it won't matter         away.                                        hope that you believe me when I say it
anymore. What peace I have comes                My days are so empty, so dark are my      was with each and every one of you in
from knowing that Drew lives on in a         nights,                                      mind as I penned these lines. There
place so spectacular that we can't even         I ask God to hold me until there is       are a couple of special references
imagine. For all the dreams and hopes        light.                                       made in this poem. I hope that you
each know what they mean. One is about         mind, I see and feel what it is I need to    into words, what it is that I need most
a rose, and the other a butterfly.             say. Words are not found that give           for him to know."
    If I were to go away                       meaning. It is with this in mind I send
                                                                                                         My Dearest One
                                               this to you. May you, in some way, .find         It is often that words go unspoken,
   What if you awoke and I wasn't there,
   Would you think of me or really care?       these words a comfort, or meaningful             To leave you: with thoughts
   Would you really miss, not seeing me?       even in a small way I thank God.             unknowing.
   Would you take the time to think of           For it is with His help, and the love of       Feelings, made into words, or
me?                                            my two sons, I live.                         loving touch,
   Would you ever wonder where I went?           I sit here before my keyboard with             Not shown, though my heart knows
   Or think about me, even a moment            mixed emotions and struggle jar words.       how much.
spent?                                           Now searching my heart, my soul and            I watch you, and study everything
   Would the world stop turning if I were      the very depths of my being.                 about you.
gone,                                                                                           From the waking of day till still of
                                                 How is it, words escape... only now        night's dew.
   Or would it keep turning even, even         do I, before the world, want to cry out.
though?                                                                                         There is never a moment you're
                                                 My love is such that words created         not about me.
   Would you miss me if I were to go
away?                                          cannot begin to describe its depth.              For to you my dearest one, I hold
   Even if I chose not to go and I want to       Nor the heavens mass, oceans wide,         close, Even if I neglect, in words left
stay.                                          and mountain grandeur spy.                   unspoken.
   What if I were in heaven and my tears         For my heart as a cup overflows,               Or gentle touch, to hold you close
fell as rain,                                  there's no beginning or end to it.           to my heart,
   Knowing this in your heart would it a         Therefore, one cannot measure the              Ever to remind, my love shall not
difference make?                                                                            depart.
                                               desire and want, have this picture made.         No matter how wide the miles shall
   Or what if I, were a simple floating          If only, this one time, can I bring unto
butterfly,                                                                                  impart,
                                               my eye, this image which I clearly see?          There is no gulf in keeping our
   Could you see me, as I try to fly by          Oh, it is with great pain, and sorrow,     parting far.
your side?                                     that what I want most I cannot have.             Only a whispered breath of my
   What if I would be a beautiful yet                                                       name shall be,
thorny rose,                                     So unto others who cannot under-
                                               stand, these words are dark and void.            There at your side you shall,
   Could you sense my sweet aroma tick-                                                     comfort that I bring.
ling your nose?                                  For those who, through the shadows
                                               see how it is you share with me.                 Never mean I harm, though words,
   What if I left you, never to come back,                                                  may sing,
today?                                           For we both have and have not, yet             Out, and bring to you shattered
   Do you think you'd care if I were to go     we hold, for love is the bond. Yet words     memories.
away?                                          cannot describe, love speaks volumes,            I will mend each one, If I may try
   I won't ask you this, it sounds too silly   without word spoken.                         and bring,
to say,                                          For this reason I can live, for those I        Only I find that hard as I may try,
   Would you really miss me if I were to       love are with me, in body and spirit.            Sometimes, I fail, and in this I can
go away?                                         Thank you, who can with me walk, for       only cry.
   If tomorrow you realize, that I really                                                       For there are some things I
was not here.                                  as angels wings do carry.
                                                 Knowing with your love I can face to-      cannot,
   Would from your eyes sorrow I see, oh                                                        No matter how I want the past to
so clear?                                      morrow, and each tomorrow there after.       have gone.
   What if I really did go away today,                                                          The future, I know not what it shall
   Would it make a difference in your            Written for all parents, with love for     hold,
day?                                           our children.                                    Only today, for this is what we
   If I were to tell you I had to go away                                                   have I'm told.
today,                                            Tim wrote this poem while he was              So, I shall give you, my rose, this
   Would you stop me and here make me          sitting in an airport. The poem was          vow
stay?                                          written to embrace the children that still       To ever hold you close, and
   If so, I can tell you I don't really want   abide with ns here on earth, not those       cherish as now.
to go.                                         that have passed. Connie reminded Tim            This promise I make, and forever
   If you could, please tell me I don't                                                     will be,
have to go.                                    of the poems that he has written to keep         Though, time no more, look, for I
   'Cause, it would make me sad to have        the memory of Rob alive, but Tim had         am with thee.
to go,                                         never once thought to give their only            To my son Billy, with love and
   Having known just how much you love         surviving son words to make Tim's love       admiration.
me so.                                         for him come to life. Tim wrote, "I may
   ---                                         be the only father to neglect. With             Robby's symbol is a rose.
   I believe that my words will describe.      shame I admit that. I have wronged
There are times wish as I may, words              Bill, for I do not offer to him myself        Steve and Kathy Bechard's
come slowly. Though in my                      as I should. Therefore, I have put           daughter, Tracey (7-3-70), died 1-11-
                                                                                            86. Kathy e-mailed
   I thank God every day, for finding you   child, the helplessness, combined with               with legs bent at the waist
and Rosemary. We never had a lot of         the sorrow, often proves to be an               "I couldn't sleep. I was having bad
support dealing with Tracey's death         overwhelming combination. Essentially,                    dreams again. "
after we left Maryland. No one knew         we have two choices; lay down and give               images terrible, grotesque
                                                                                          monster with seven heads and 24 eyes
that we had lost a child, unless we told    up or fight to stay alive and make our        that lived in you and ate your insides
them. Christmas is getting closer and]      child's life count for something.                              slowly,
hate not having Tracey here! But know-                                                       savoring each bite, until, finally,
ing that you and Rosemary are there for       This pamphlet shows readers how to                there was nothing left of you
us will make it a lot easier this year!     channel the love they have for their           his tiny brain consumed with saving
   Tracey Ann was born July 3, 1970, in     deceased children into a way of living                          him,
Sheffield, Alabama, weighing in at 5lbs     whereby they can face their grief in a                   scared to de____ .
61/20z., bald headed as could be. I was     series of stages that lead to personal
the ripe old age of 19. She was a good      healing.                                        it had been a week-seven days, six
baby though, and with the help of my                                                                        hours
Mom and brother we took turns getting                                                       the results should have come back
                                              You may purchase these booklets by
up to feed her. Tracey passed away          calling 1-800-325-9521, by email,                      call me now. ring now
January 11, 1986. Six months shy of her, or their web site            she asks if I can miss class Tuesday to
16th birthday. Since she loved but-     The                      go to San Diego
terflies so much, I guess that should be    pamphlets are $1.00 plus tax and              make a wish, blowout the candles, he
her symbol.                                 shipping.                                               asked to go to the zoo
   She wanted to be a Doctor (pedia-                                                            he said they had pandas, koalas
trician) she wanted to help children. She      Peggy and                                   mountain gorillas, Tasmanian devils
was my strength when things didn't go       Denis' symbols                                   "you like those, Jessica," he said and
very well with her treatments. I really     are angels.                                                     smiled
thought that Johns Hopkins Hospital                                                             crooked teeth that needed braces
and Dr. Kwiterovich would find a cure.                                                        the cracked and scabbed sore on the
Look for the Book Beyond Cholesterol                                                        that came from that medicine, the one
by Dr. Peter O. Kwiterovich. This book        Tom and Carol Stork's son, Thomas             that started with XZQ or something
explains     about     Tracey's             (9-29-86), died from cancer, 12-7-96.                         impossible
problem, better than I ever                 Carol shared some poetry written by
could.                                      Jessica Jeffcoat, Thomas' half sister:          I was on a plane to meet them mother,
                                                                                                  brother, sister and sister
  Tracey's symbols are but-                                    #21                         I couldn't read, I couldn't eat, if I slept
terflies.                                       (I would have skipped it if I knew)           I would see what I had not seen yet
                                                                                          she warned me that he was discolored
                                                                                               (slightly green, mostly yellow)
  Elaine Stillwell, mother of Denis               she said the tests were routine
                                                                                            his body swollen, stomach sunken and
(8/2/23/66 - 8/2/86) and Peggy (2/4/65 -     then she added that he was feeling pain                         concave
8/6/86) has written two new small            having some (a little, not much) trouble               little legs, tight and tough
booklets. Drawing upon the loss of her                       breathing                        eyes, eyes I could not butterfly kiss
two oldest children in a car accident a     same conversation, only two years earlier                        anymore,
dozen years ago, Elaine offers these          me in another room, longer hair, plum           puffy cheeks like mine the day they
heartfelt, uplifting meditations to help                      lipstick                                    pulled four teeth
readers in the tremendous struggle                 nothing new, the projection               except I didn't have those raw places
toward finding peace in the midst of            black and white against the wall           that covered his bald head, his chin,
grieving the death of a loved one.               the mass the size of a grapefruit                             neck
Stepping Stones for the Bereaved helps              stuck between, pushing on                throat swollen so that even ice cream
                                                                                                              and water hurt
us realize that, while we can't bring                his esophagus and aorta
                                                                                                      all from that same __ng drug
back a loved one who has died, we can         blocking paths for oxygen and blood.
use our time of grief as a steppingstone                                                     the one that made him talk crazy
toward personal renewal in reac-                  she said he was not sleeping well       made him forget that I had read whole
quainting ourselves with Jesus Christ.              I felt him standing beside me,                     stories only
The author's words bear a welcome            his hand on my eyelid about to open it for               minutes before
message for anyone who is struggling                               me                      made him frustrated that he couldn't
with the fear, anger, and helplessness       "little frog, are you dead?" he whispered      reach that shelf that was so high
that accompany a painful loss.              I smiled, stretched, moved back against the           that wasn't really there
                                                                  wall                    made his legs too weak to hold his 43
  Healing: After Your Child's Death, is                                                                  Lb. body
                                                 he climbed up and sat in the "j" my
for those grieving the loss of a
                                                              body made
   made him wake up shrieking at 2:02,          I looked at Thomas, he needed me so.           our children at the Cumberland hm on
                  3:09, 4:18 am                   We made each other happy as our              Friday, June 1 at 8:30(ish) PM. Last
    made him ask if I was afraid, what        friendship grew,                                 year was the first year to have the
                 made me scared.                  And I found out; I needed him too.           service and it was very meaningful for
  I said that horrible book about the girl                                                     those of us who were there.
              who becomes a snake                I remember how we used to play;
    I could have read it 16 billion times        We vowed our love on Valentine's Day.             Saturday is a full day! We will
            just to listen to him laugh                                                        begin J.I.M.'s Picnic at 11:00 AM.
        tell his 10 year old mind jokes          Then one day, he became very ill;             The place is undetermined at this early
    I thought I was the one suffering, in        When his mom asked me to visit him, I         date, but if you stop at the inn first,
                        pain                  said, "I will!"                                  they will give you complete details.
 him, so much smaller, younger, weaker,                                                        Be sure to bring pictures, symbols, etc.
                 braver, stronger                He was diagnosed with a disease called        We will have a display area so we can
          when he struggled to sit up         cancer.                                          put "faces" to the children we have the
leaned over, hugged me, whispered those          How he got it, only God knows the             honor of knowing from the newsletter.
                    three words               answer.
     little brothers never tell their older                                                        After lunch (we ask that a love
               sisters "I love you."             When Thomas was in fifth grade, he had        offering be taken to defray the cost of
                                              to die.                                          the meal), we will have the dome
              she called again                   When he was only ten. I don't know why.
                                                                                               dedication at the new Crum Rollins
         Saturday, early 8: 17 am
   I heard her say, "Thomas is calling"                                                        Fine Arts Building. This dome was
                                                 I know he loved nature, I know he loved
   I turned off the stereo, he hated loud     the sea.                                         commissioned by Luther, Rosemary
                    music                        I know he loved his family, and he also       and Jordan Smith in memory of not
 I swallowed my gum, he said it popped        loved me                                         only Drew and Jeremiah, but in
               when I chewed                     People with understanding could see the       memory of all of our children. As you
      I sat down anxious to hear #21          love in his eyes.                                can tell from the picture, it is breath-
in the pick your own ending series story         And love like ours... never, ever dies.       taking!!
             he told each week
I thought I heard her give him the phone      Thomas' symbol is a Lion                             After the dedication, Rosemary
       and his breath replaced hers           because he loved all animals,                    will share some of the unbelievable
    she said, "I said, Thomas is gone."                    but especially the                  experiences she has had speaking to
                                                              endangered                       groups and at book signings for
     Three weeks before his death,                         species.     Also    Native         Children of the Dome. Her book has
Thomas wrote the following things for                      Americans, his Indian name          touched so many lives.
which he was thankful:                                     means "Faster than the wol-
           I AM THANKFUL                      ves."                                               Carol will then entertain us with
   ..For my Mother, Father, my sisters
Charlotte, Jessica, and Rachel, and my                                                         her beautiful and touching music. It
                                              Carol met Rosemary Smith at a
cat and bird.                                                                                  will be a weekend none of us will ever
                                              Bereavement conference in Columbia, Sc.
   I am also thankful for doctors, hospi-                                                      forget!!
                                              She gave Rosemary a wonderful CD called
tals, and medicine.                           Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth
   I am also thankful for science, and        by Cindy Bullen, another bereaved mother.            Remember that this is a "picnic" so
plants and animals.                           Because of Carol giving Rosemary this            please dress casually. Another request
   I also am thankful for food to eat and     CD, we are happy to tell you that Cindy          is that you please not bring children.
water to drink                                will be at J.I.M.'s Picnic to sing some of the   We each need this time of celebration
   I am also thankful for policemen who       songs she has written since                      and reflection.
keep us safe.                                 Rachel's death. Rachel's
   Most of all, I am thankful for the God     symbol is "scarlet wings"                           Chocolate and
who loves us.                                 which also the name of one
                                              her songs.                                           Prayer...
  This poem was written by Jill Kelleher.                                                      A sure cure for
She and Thomas were sweethearts from                                                           the grief and
2nd grade. She wrote this 3 months after         I am so excited about J.I.M.'s picnic this    stress du jour!!
Thomas' death. She was 11:                    year! It will be the absolute best!!! We are
                                              going to have a candle lighting service in
     LOVE NEVER DIES                          memory of
  We met, it seems, such a short time

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